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European industry leaders look to closer collaboration between business and schools

Increasing young people’s interest in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) is essential for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in Europe, according to the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), a group of 45 industrial leaders from across Europe. ERT has identified this issue as a key priority for European industry.

To discuss this issue aimed at tackling a potential shortfall in MST  trained people in Europe, ERT organised a high-level multi-stakeholder event  for academia, business, government and the teaching profession to explore  ways  of  developing  a  shared  approach for the promotion of MST across Europe’s schools from as early as primary school level.

ERT  Chairman  Jorma  OllilaChairman  of  Shell  and  Nokia, stated that “Companies of ERT members sustain around 6.6 million jobs in the region and our  industries  are highly dependent on access to a skilled MST workforce. MST  is the basis for innovation and competitiveness which is essential for sustainable economic growth and welfare in Europe.”

“With  a  declining student proportion in MST, a stabilisation of access to tertiary  education, unfavourable demographic trends and negative attitudes towards  education  and careers in MST it is evident that stakeholders need to act.”

European Commission President Jośe Manuel Barroso supported the initiative, saying   “Europe   needs  more  highly  skilled,  qualified  and  motivated individuals  to  push back the technological frontiers, in order to improve economic growth and employment. Your analysis on the need to promote MST in our  schools  and  universities  is  spot-on.  And so is your solution. The European Commission has been calling for more partnership between education and business for some time. Together let us show the way ahead.”

ERT  Vice  Chairman,  Leif  Johansson,  CEO Volvo Group commented that “ERT member  companies  are  determined  to  strengthen long term commitments to supporting  Europe’s  schools,  teachers  and universities. Support must be able to survive the economic cycle.

Today’s  event  has reinforced our belief that businesses have an important role  to play. Businesses need to work closely with schools to put MST into meaningful life and career contexts, provide access to role models and keep teachers informed of what MST careers are.”

Facilitating  stakeholders  at  the event included representatives from the European  CommissionEuropean  SchoolnetEuropean  Industrial  Research Management Association (EIRMA), Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JA-YE) and  Jet-Net. The breakout discussions confirmed ERT’s belief that existing and  future  collaboration  needs  to  be  better  coordinated  in order to leverage full potential and inspire future generations of MST students.

Jorma  Ollila  concluded  that  “We believe that this event has provided us with a mandate to take immediate steps in this direction”.

ERT  will  step  up  work  with  a broad range of stakeholders to develop a schools  and  business  collaboration  with  the  long-term aim of ensuring Europe has the right skills to thrive.

The  European  Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is a forum of 45 leaders of  major companies of European parentage. ERT’s  “core”  mission  is  to  promote  the competitiveness of European  industry.

Further information:

Wim Philippa
ERT Secretariat
Tel: +32 2 534 31 00
E-mail: contact@ert.eu


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