Why the STEM teacher shortage is our problem (and what we can do about it)

Online event free 
Join us as we hear how the shortage of engineers is down to the shortage of Engineering students, which is down to a shortage of teachers. We'll explore how this impacts student diversity and what Engineering academics can do about it.
This event is free and open to both EPC members and non-members. To register, simply complete the registration form by clicking the 'Register' button, below. You may save the details of this event (including the Zoom link) to your calendar by clicking 'Download to ics/ical' above. In partnership with The Department for Education (DfE) and The Institute of Physics (IOP)

The talent pipeline for engineers has slowed to a trickle. Each year, there is a shortfall of engineers entering the sector because there are not enough Engineering graduates. And there aren’t enough graduates, nor are they diverse enough, because there aren’t enough Engineering students. And there aren’t enough students because there aren’t enough pupils taking feeder A levels – particularly Physics.

And not enough pupils because we have reached crisis point in the availability of Physics teachers. Many school pupils simply can’t choose Physics because there are no teachers – especially in disadvantaged schools.

Unless something is done – and fast – the pipeline will run dry. That will spell disaster for the whole engineering sector – including university departments that will be forced to close or become an outpost almost exclusively for international students.

The solution is for more Engineering graduates to become Physics teachers – even if that means the shortfall into professional engineering becomes even worse in the short term. This is not just about labour shortages – it’s about opportunities for young people and about social justice.

Engineering academics are in a strong position to influence undergraduate students into teaching, which – as academics know – can be a fulfilling and rewarding careers. For our own sake, for the sake of students, for the engineering sector and for the sake of the wider economy, we need to take action.

This event will explore what academics can do and whether it’s their job to do it.

Come along to the webinar and continue the discussion

  • Explore the relationship between shortages of engineers and STEM teachers.
  • What role does teaching play in solving the shortage of engineers?
  • What role should Engineering academics play in solving the shortage of Physics teachers?

And more…

  • Hear from our expert panel
  • Share your views with the DfE, IoP and EPC

This event is especially suitable for

  • Academics and other staff with an interest in or responsibility for student outcomes and careers.
  • Anyone with an interest in teaching.
  • Anyone with an interest in access and social justice.


Dame Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge is a crossbench member of the House of Lords. She is also Deputy Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change, chairing its Adaptation Committee, Chair of The Carbon Trust, a Non-Executive Director of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, a Council member of Innovate UK, a Patron of the Engineering Professors' Council, and was Chair of the Henry Royce Institute. After 16 years as an academic researcher and University lecturer in materials at Cambridge and Nottingham Universities, Baroness Brown joined Rolls-Royce Plc in 1994, where she held several senior positions including Head of Materials, Managing Director of the Fan Systems business and Engineering Director of the Marine business. In 2002 she became CEO of the Institute of Physics, and in 2004 was appointed Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College London. Baroness Brown was Vice-Chancellor of Aston University from 2006 – 2016. Under her leadership, Aston cemented its position as one of the UK’s leading universities for business and the professions. Her academic research includes over 160 papers on fatigue and fracture in structural materials and developments in aerospace and marine propulsion. Baroness Brown is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. She was awarded a CBE for services to materials engineering and a DBE for services to education and technology. In 2015 she was elevated to the Peerage as a crossbench member of the House of Lords.

Earning a degree in Building Engineering from Loughborough University, Neil worked for IDC and AMEC before retraining as a teacher of physics in the 1990s. As well as teaching, he has been a senior lecturer in Education at Bath Spa University and deputy director in the Science Learning Centre network. He still works as an independent educational consultant and as a Teacher Training Adviser for the DfE. In his spare time, he is a musician, sportsman and hankers for a workshop.

After spending 15 years teaching physics in secondary schools in the West Midlands area, Dan is now Associate Professor of Physics Education at the University of Birmingham. Dan works with students, teachers and trainee teachers to improve physics subject knowledge and pedagogy with the aim that all children have a positive experience of physics in school. Dan also leads on projects relating to widening access to physics in higher education. He is currently undertaking doctoral research at the University of Oxford around the factors that affect decisions to study and teach physics.

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive at EngineeringUK. Hilary joined EngineeringUK as CEO in January 2019 and leads the organisation in its ambition to inform and inspire young people and grow the number and diversity of those coming into engineering. Previously she has been: Head of Education and Learning at Wellcome, building a team to improve science education through research, advocacy, funding and interventions; Assistant/Interim Director at Campaign for Science & Engineering working on a breadth of policy issues; and Assistant Professor at the Centre for Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience, Rutgers. She is a governor of a 5-16 comprehensive school.

Dr Rhys Morgan is the Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering. He oversees the Academy’s education programmes in schools, colleges and universities, supporting students and teachers at all levels. His team undertakes a wide range of research and policy activity – from understanding young people’s engagement of STEM subjects in schools, to advising on the development of new technical qualifications for Further Education and exploration of new pedagogies in higher education. He is leading the Academy’s work to embed sustainability, ethics and inclusion into all aspects of engineering education. Rhys also oversees the Academy’s Diversity and Inclusion programme, supporting the engineering community to improve workplace cultures in academia and industry, in order to drive diversity across the profession such that it reflects the society it serves. Rhys leads the Academy’s engagement with the wider engineering profession including the Engineering Council, EngineeringUK and the professional engineering institutions.

Charles Tracy's main interests are in the physics curriculum, teachers’ professional learning and building professional communities of teachers. He also advises the IoP on education policy, particularly relating to teacher retention and recruitment. He started teaching in Hertfordshire in 1987, where he worked as a physics teacher, Head of Physics, Head of Science and as an adviser. He has also worked as a consultant for the BBC and Channel 4 and has developed educational websites. Over the years, he has written textbooks, overseen major national CPD projects and been involved in curriculum development. He is particularly interested in how the physics curriculum can be structured to develop rich and lasting ideas about physics and its practices. Charles was awarded the OBE in the 2023 New Year's Honours.

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