Universities are ‘sexing up’ science degrees to attract students and subsequently losing them to teaching

Universities are “sexing up” science degrees to attract students rather than train them for the “real world of laboratory work”, a leading employer has warned. This is causing them to move into teaching as they find the reality of work less exciting than expected.

Research from the Training and Development Agency found one in 10 science graduates will end up teaching the subject, with 49% considering a future career in teaching.

Mark Johnson, HR director at forensics science company Orchid Cellmark, accused universities of “conning” graduates into choosing forensic science with the promise of working on issues such as criminal investigation. But the reality is the job often involves analytical and repetitive laboratory tasks.

“Universities are conning people into taking forensic science degrees – they are trying to sell courses so they ‘sex them up’,” Johnson said. “For many, their knowledge is not applicable to the industry.

“It’s an easy option to go into teaching as at least then they are using the subject they’ve been taught.”

A spokesman for Universities UK, which represents the higher education sector, said: “Industry and employers are still crying out for UK science graduates, so universities have a role to play.”

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