Britain's universities 'not producing enough geeks', peers warn

Posted On: 
11th June 2018

Britain's universities are not turning out the kind of graduates that are needed for the modern workplace, peers have warned.

The House of Lords report says Britain's universities are not producing enough "geeks" with science, technology and engineering skills

In a new report, the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee said there were too many young people with history and biology degrees and not enough "geeks" with science, technology and engineering skills.

The report suggested that "the oversupply of some graduate-level skills, and the undersupply of technician-level skills, could result in graduates occupying technician-level roles for which they are overqualified and under-skilled".

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This could then lead to "low morale and high staff turnover", it added.

The committee said the problem had been caused by a funding system that was “heavily skewed” towards full-time degrees rather than part-time courses and skills training, and called for "immediate reform".

The report stated: "There’s an oversupply of history graduates and an undersupply of geeks.

"There’s insufficient high quality technical people, there things aren’t sexy to do at university.

"We’re having to employ massive numbers of humanities graduates to do customer service jobs because they’ve got nowhere else to go."

The committee recommended slashing interest rates on student loans - which are currently as high as 6% - to 1.5%.

It also called for the Government's target of creating three million apprenticeships to be ditched as it prioritises "quantity over quality".

Committee chair Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said: "The way we expect students to access higher and further education is deeply unfair.

"We must create a single system. Including apprenticeships, that offers more choice and better value for money."