Identifying the landscape of university STEM outreach

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The UK is facing an engineering skills crisis; with problems in schools and colleges, like low attainment and progression in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, leaving the outlook as bleak. Claims are made in the 2016 Royal Academy of Engineers UK STEM education landscape report that there are gaps in outreach activities being offered by organisations, which if addressed could help increase the number of young people pursuing engineering. The report, although recognising universities offered these opportunities, did not include them in their mapping. This paper attempts to see if universities are possibly filling these gaps and if such provision affects recruitment in higher education, by examining what outreach activities a group of universities in Southern England are offering through their websites. By mining their websites and using content analysis, their provisions are evaluated against the suggested gaps identified in the report. The types and numbers of suggested activities are also compared against recruitment of students. Whilst the universities are closing some of the gaps, more progress is needed with others; including giving greater STEM support in Primary schools and supporting and encouraging underrepresented groups, such as those with disabilities, into STEM. With some strong correlations between outreach aimed at colleges and students enrolling on STEM courses, there is good reason to consider that addressing these gaps will also benefit universities recruitment into STEM courses in the long run.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRealising Ambitions
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 6th Annual Symposium of the United Kingdom & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network
EditorsManish Malik, Jane Andrews, Robin Clark, Roger Penlington, Rebecca Broadbent
PublisherUniversity of Portsmouth
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-86137-668-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-86137-669-5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2019
Event6th Annual Symposium of the United Kingdom & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network - Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Nov 20182 Nov 2018


Conference6th Annual Symposium of the United Kingdom & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • outreach
  • STEM
  • pipeline
  • recruitment
  • higher education


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