A lack of workers with the correct STEM skills is reportedly costing the UK economy around £1.5 billion per annum. But could improving and developing STEM apprenticeships be the solution?

Apprenticeships are becoming more popular than ever before, which is encouraging. But more still needs to be done to close the STEM skills gap. Perhaps due to their focus on offering hands-on and practical learning processes, apprenticeship programmes are ideally suited to the STEM — science, technology, engineering, and maths — sectors.

Degree apprenticeships offer students the chance to work, study and earn at the same time in subjects from biomedical engineering to digital marketing. QA Education worked with teen magazine Future Mag to find out about these new apprenticeships and how you go about getting one.

Degree apprenticeships are new, uptake is still low and employers and universities are wary of red tape involved. But the good news is numbers are rising, and there are 27 new schemes launching in September 2018, which should – if all goes to plan - create thousands of new opportunities.

Renfrewshire worker Carla Fulton has gone from Modern Apprentice to manager at Erskine’s Enchanted Forest nursery. The former Park Mains pupil joined the nursery in 2009 and is now helping to train Modern Apprentices at the former site of Erskine Hospital. The nursery has 63 places for young children and 14 employees.

“I love my job and I loved being an apprentice. It is such a rewarding job and the best part of it is watching the children and seeing them develop,” explained Carla.