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A job in STEM could be for you – here’s how you could get there

Female engineer working in a job in STEM

You might have heard that there is an increase in STEM jobs available and that employers are looking for people with these skills. But what exactly are STEM skills, and how can you get a job in one of the many industries that use them?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It’s a broad umbrella term which covers a whole range of skills and jobs in lots of different industries.

You can gain STEM skills by taking advantage of the hundreds of government-funded courses and qualifications available to adults, regardless of your age or background.

Keep reading to find out more about different STEM jobs and how you can train for a career in STEM.

Digital jobs

Digital skills are in high demand, and as the world becomes increasingly digital, these skills are becoming even more essential. If you’re interested in a role that is digital-focused, there’s a growing number of opportunities. You could train to work in coding, cyber security, software development, digital marketing, or data analytics – just to name a few.

There are a lot of courses you could sign up for to gain the skills needed for digital jobs.

Skills Bootcamps are free courses that are delivered flexibly to fit training around your life. They last up to 16 weeks and fast-track you to an interview with an employer.

There are lots of Skills Bootcamps courses in digital, from Cyber Security to Coding and more. Courses are being delivered in all regions in England and online.

You might also be interested in Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs). These are specialist technical courses at Levels 4 or 5 (such as Foundation Degrees or Higher National Diplomas) that have been approved by employers to give you the high quality, in-demand skills needed to step straight into employment or prepare for further study.

HTQ courses in digital are launching in September this year, including in cyber security, software development and data analysis. Look out for the HTQ quality mark to find approved courses.

Engineering jobs

Engineers design and build projects in a variety of industries. Products, buildings, and vehicles we use in our daily life were created by engineers, so it’s no surprise that there’s always lots of new opportunities and growth in the industry.

There are many different types of engineering. For example:

  • Electrical engineers design, build and maintain machines and equipment that use electricity.
  • Civil engineers design and manage construction projects, such as bridges, buildings, or transport links.
  • Biological engineers combine science with engineering to build innovative solutions, like testing water quality or building prosthetics.

There are lots of routes into a job in engineering. For example, if you don’t have A levels (or equivalent), you could take recognised Level 3 qualifications in engineering for free, as part of the Free Courses for Jobs offer.

From April 2022, you will also be able to choose from hundreds of Level 3 qualifications included in this offer if you earn below the National Living Wage or you are unemployed, regardless of your prior qualification level.

Apprenticeships are also a great way for adults to train and gain new skills, whilst also gaining workplace experience and getting paid. Apprenticeships are jobs with training and are available in a wide range of industries, including engineering. On an apprenticeship, you’re able to learn whilst earning, and at the end you’ll be recognised as fully competent in that occupation.

Creative jobs

If you enjoy being creative, a job in STEM could actually be for you. Creative skills combined with STEM skills such as engineering, IT, maths and physics could help you get jobs such as a product or graphic designer, an architect, or a sound engineer.

With creativity being an important skill in many jobs and industries, you can browse through thousands of apprenticeships to help you get there – have a look at the “creative and design” category to see if there’s a creative opportunity for you!

Or Skills Bootcamps are also available in creative subjects such as digital visualisation, user experience design for games, or augmented reality. As an augmented reality designer, you could add computer-generated images, sounds or other media to the physical surroundings, which could be used for games or other experiences.

Free, online courses in graphic design, virtual reality or coding for app development are also available via The Skills Toolkit.

Green Jobs

STEM skills are key in many jobs that combat climate change and support sustainability, an industry that is set for huge growth. Working in green, you could learn how to create new technologies to harvest energy, design sustainable alternatives to plastics, or build and repair electric vehicles.

Apprenticeships or Free Courses for Jobs, for example in engineering or electrical installation, can support you into a job in the green sector.

Skills Bootcamps also offer green skills courses, for example in retrofit construction, which is a branch of the construction sector focused on fitting new systems designed for high energy efficiency and low energy consumption to buildings previously built without them. There are more green Skills Bootcamps coming by Autumn 2022, which will be added to the list of Skills Bootcamps when they become available.

Looking to return to a STEM industry after a break?

The ‘Returning to STEM’ course on The Skills Toolkit can help you create an action plan, boost your CV and find STEM jobs online.

You’ll find the course in the ‘Professional Development’ category, alongside a range of other transferable skills courses to help you get the job you want – like how to create your personal brand, improve your communication skills or lead a team effectively.

Whether you’re looking for new opportunities in STEM or want to progress your current career, learning new skills could be your next step to unlock your potential.

There are hundreds of government-funded opportunities available.


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