Creativity needs to be a key part of the curriculum if we are to be a driving force in the Northern Powerhouse, according to business leaders.
The North West Business Leadership Team forum gathered to debate the importance of investment in training young people in both science and arts.
Spearheaded in the UK by the Cultural Learning Alliance, the movement is calling to add the ‘A’ (arts) in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to become STEAM.
Speaking at a forum held at Sci-Tech Daresbury, Esme Ward, head of learning and engagement at Manchester Museum, said: “Science educators are desperate to bring more creativity to the science curriculum. When you bring art and science together, there is huge potential for really extraordinary things to happen.”
Suzanne Jones, head of Europe, Central Asia and Middle East, International Knowledge and Innovation Unit at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “Science is at the heart of the UK’s prosperity agenda and when combined with arts and creativity, will inspire the next generation and enable innovation.
“Creativity needs a firm place on the agenda – without it, England will not be able to be world leading and a fighting force in the Northern Powerhouse.”
Mike Byrne, managing director of Accenture addressed the ‘skills shortage’ in the North West and called for more to be done to tackle this. “Digital is changing the world around us which means that a broader skillset is needed to deliver this technology,” he said.
Chris Doherty of Manchester Science Partnerships called for an ‘aggressive strategy’ to help grow the science sector.
“The North West biocluster one of the greatest in this country and despite AstraZeneca moving to Cambridge, the region still has some major investors. At Alderley Park, we have plans to create 5,000 jobs over the next five to seven years but we need a significant number of people educated in STEAM for this to work.”
Closing the debate, Geoffrey Piper, chief executive of the North West Business Leadership Team, said: “There are constant threats to our science budget but if we are serious about securing the future of our businesses, the quality of life in the UK and the North West, then this whole area of ınnovatıon and creatıvıty needs to be fırmly on the agenda.”