wesleyan bank bett education

Wesleyan Bank to showcase specialist finance solutions at Bett 2018

WESLEYAN BANK TO UNVEIL NEW WHITE PAPER ‘AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO EDTECH’ ON STAND D134

15 January 2018 – Wesleyan Bank (formerly Syscap) is showcasing its specialist finance solutions which enable educational establishments to realise their technology ambitions and learning potential at Bett 2018 (24-27 January, ExCeL London).

Bett is the premier industry show of the year in the education technology landscape

It will bring together attendees from across the global education community to celebrate the role technological innovation plays in enabling learners to thrive. Wesleyan Bank will be demonstrating its extensive range of commercial and personal finance solutions on stand D134 alongside its parent company Wesleyan Financial Services Limited, which provides expert advice and services for teachers.

As a BESA member, Wesleyan Bank understands the budgetary pressures schools face and has many years’ experience in delivering tailored financial solutions to support investment in IT software and associated services, specialist equipment and classroom and building refurbishments.

The company also provides one-to-one funded learning schemes to help educational establishments and parents finance students’ personal learning devices, which can be used inside and outside of the classroom.

Exclusively at Bett 2018, Wesleyan Bank will unveil its new white paper, ‘Affordable Access to EdTech’, which highlights the latest technology innovation in education, as well as new improvements to established teaching tools and the impact such aids can have. It sets out the risks schools need to guard against by maintaining ICT investment levels, before providing practical advice as to how alternative finance solutions can assist schools to bridge the gap between available public funding and the amounts needed to keep their digital resources, security and skills current.

In addition, Wesleyan will be on hand to assist teachers with their personal financial planning needs, from investments and mortgages to loans, retirement planning, savings and insurance. The organisation’s expert financial consultants specialise in working with education professionals to ensure they stay on top of government changes to pensions and tax.

Furthermore, teachers and support staff visiting stand D134 can sign-up for a free school seminar covering key features, benefits and options of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), which will be presented by one of Wesleyan’s knowledgeable financial consultants.

Steve Deutsch, Chief Executive of Wesleyan Bank, comments, “Arguably the greatest challenge facing educational establishments is not proving technology’s value in enhancing learning outcomes, but how they can keep up with the pace and cost of innovation to ensure pupils do not get left behind.

“Visitors to Bett can discover how bespoke finance solutions from specialist financial providers offer a flexible and affordable way for schools to progress their plans by spreading the cost of IT investments. This ensures they no longer have to fall behind with technology, whatever the Government’s funding strategy.”

Several exhibitors attending Bett already allow schools to purchase IT solutions and specialist equipment with spread payment facilities provided by Wesleyan Bank. The company is keen to talk to other education vendors at the show.

For more information about Wesleyan’s specialist solutions for educational establishments and teachers, go to stand D134 at Bett 2018 or visit www.wesleyan.co.uk/educationcommercial. Alternatively, call 01606 338 001 or email bankcommercialsales@wesleyan.co.uk.

-ENDS-

Syscap rebrands to Wesleyan Bank to drive next phase of growth

Specialist finance provider boosts support for IT vendors, resellers, SMEs and professions

Syscap, the UK’s leading IT finance specialist, has changed its name to Wesleyan Bank to unify the company’s operations under one brand and offer a simplified customer experience. The move, which takes effect from today, follows the success of Wesleyan Bank since its acquisition of Syscap in February 2015 which has seen the company double its net lending to UK businesses.

Wesleyan Bank offers specialist commercial finance solutions to UK SMEs, professions and IT vendors and resellers. These comprise tailored short, medium and long-term loans to cover investments in IT and associated services, specialist equipment, cash flow expenditure, partner equity loans, business acquisitions and commercial mortgages.

Steve Deutsch, Chief Executive of Wesleyan Bank, comments, “The rebrand underpins our strategic growth plans to fund more business directly from Wesleyan Bank and provide a broader range of flexible finance solutions within our chosen markets.

“Whilst we have been working as one team for some time now, the decision to unify our operations under a single identity has been welcomed by our customers, vendor partners and staff alike.”

As a subsidiary of specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan Assurance Society which has £7 billion of assets under management, Wesleyan Bank can offer more comprehensive products and services to the vendor channel. This includes traditional end user sales finance to overcome budget objections and drive other buyer behaviour, from transitioning to Software-as-a-Service models or encouraging customers to lock into longer term support and maintenance contracts.

Wesleyan Bank can also help vendors to grow their own businesses through its extensive range of funding, credit and direct management solutions to support their working capital, in addition to providing complementary commercial insurance and protection products.

Deutsch adds, “These positive changes will enable us to hit the ground running in 2018 which promises to be an exciting year for Wesleyan Bank. But more importantly, as a stronger combined business, we are better equipped than ever to offer enhanced solutions and digital services that are tailored to the needs of our customers.

“With a clear understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing the vendor community, we are ideally positioned to provide an unrivalled depth of industry knowledge and support to our partners and their resellers to achieve profitable growth.”

Wesleyan Bank’s vendor partners include Sage, Infor, Softcat and Autodesk.

We're rebranding to Wesleyan Bank

We’re rebranding to Wesleyan Bank

UK’s leading IT finance specialist is changing its name to Wesleyan Bank

The move, which takes effect from 1 January 2018, will enable us to unify our company operations under one brand and offer a simplified customer experience, which has been welcomed by our vendor partners and staff alike.

Since acquiring Syscap Ltd in February 2015, Wesleyan Bank’s success has seen it double its net lending to UK businesses. As a subsidiary of specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan Assurance Society which has £7 billion of assets under management, Wesleyan Bank can offer more comprehensive products and services to the vendor channel.

This includes traditional end user sales finance to overcome budget objections and drive other buyer behaviour, from transitioning to Software-as-a-Service models or encouraging customers to lock into longer term support and maintenance contracts. Wesleyan Bank can also help vendors to grow their own businesses through its extensive range of funding, credit and direct management solutions to support their working capital, in addition to providing complementary commercial insurance and protection products.

With a clear understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing the vendor community, we are ideally positioned to provide an unrivalled depth of industry knowledge and support to our partners and their resellers to achieve profitable growth in 2018 and beyond.

Thank you for your continued support.

-ENDS-

Overcoming Finance Based Objections

‘We can’t afford this right now’ – How to overcome finance based objections like this

In working alongside a large number of partners across the country, we’ve discovered that a high proportion of the issues they encounter are when prospects and clients object to their solutions on financial grounds.

 

It is rare that a lack of money is the only reason a prospect hasn’t chosen your solution, so we are here to provide you with some tactics and strategies for overcoming objections as and when they arrive in your proposals and negotiations.

‘We can’t afford this right now’

If the prospect tells you this, there are typically only three options. They:

 

  • There is another objection that you haven’t identified
  • They genuinely cannot afford your solution.
  • Do not understand the true value of what you are proposing

 

Whilst we’d like to avoid sweeping statements, in most cases a sales professional will start at the bottom of this list and work upwards, when in reality they should start at the top and work down.

 

It is likely that there is another reason why they are not investing in your solution. It is your job to identify whether or not you can find and overcome that objection or more importantly, identify the problem so that you can ensure you do not repeat the issue in future proposals.

 ‘XX is offering everything you are but cheaper’

As part of your overall sales and industry-specific education you should be taking time to undertake competitor analysis. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors if you hope to be successful in your sales role.

 

In this scenario, the worst thing you can do is rush to discount your services. Instead you should look to:

 

  • Identify your strengths and learn to promote them in a compelling way
  • Identify your weaknesses and ensure you are aware of workarounds and/or making recommendations internally to improve these weaknesses
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors so that you can overcome them in a professional, accurate and powerful way.

‘We don’t have the cashflow until XX’

When this objection arises, you have three options that you should consider before deciding how you will approach this issue with the client:

 

  • An option to spread the cost. We are obviously available to help you should you need help in setting up your finance programme and in supporting partners we remove the hassle from offering finance to your clients
    Find out more how we can help you start offering finance in as little as 48 hours..
  • Is any of the functionality include a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’. If anything falls into this category, could you produce a secondary proposal that would reduce the cost in line with this?
  • Can you help them calculate the cost benefit that the purchase will provide? Do you have other case studies, industry standards or ROI calculations based on solid findings? It’s crucial to be transparent here and ensure the forecasts are accurate..

 

By ensuring you have considered all three options in every proposal you make, you are ensuring you have the best possible understanding of your prospects (and clients). In doing so, you are in the best possible position to understand who needs your solutions and when. In turn this will increase your likelihood of success as you are more capable of understanding the needs of your prospects.

‘It’s not worth is as it doesn’t do this and this and this and this and this’

The validity of this objection is down to two things.

 

  • How much of a specialist is the person who is providing the objection?
  • How well did you propose your solution?

 

If there is a long list of items that accurately demonstrate that your solution is not a good fit and never will be, then it is time to conclude that the client is correct and that moving forwards would be a mistake. However, if they have simply misunderstood and are listing areas that you are capable of resolving, then the onus lies with you to provide feedback that helps them to understand the information you have been trying to present to them.

 

This feedback should then dictate your future presentations, demonstrations and proposals as it is likely that you are simply not explaining certain elements of your proposal strongly enough. At this point we’d recommend undertaking more research either with specialists in your team or even better if you work with third parties to provide the solution then ensure you work with them to improve your understanding and so ability to explain why your solution is the strongest on the market.

 

What to do if the Decision Maker Still Isn’t Convinced

If you have strongly presented your solution, overcome objections and have provided the best option and the decision maker still isn’t convinced you might find this is still not enough to obtain approval for the project.

 

When this happens. Your options are:

 

  • Rework the proposal into a more suitable solution
  • Establish the lessons to be learned and move on.

 

Whilst many people would argue that discounting is then a serious and viable option, the price alone is very rarely going to be the ultimately deciding factor in such an important strategic decision. One of the greatest benefits we hear time and time again from our partners is that our finance solutions allow them to offer more affordable payment terms without having to discount their products.

Developing your ability to overcome objections by understanding and listening to what your clients are telling you is key to being a great sales professional.  We offer partners of our partner programme free training resources on topics such as ‘objection handling with finance’, ‘guide to finance. Register your interest in joining our partner programme to access to all this and more.

How to Become a CRM Pro

How you can become a CRM Proimproving sales CRM usage

A CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) system can be so much more to a business or organisation than simply providing your sales team with a way to make more sales.

Embedding CRM across your entire business will drive the right business decisions by focusing on the relationships that you have with customers, suppliers and colleagues.

The best sales professionals think beyond sales, they focus on details the touch points across the wider business and understanding their clients and how their business works. Below we have outlined some of the other ways a CRM can add value to you and your business.

Be More Intelligent

A CRM pro will be able to draw data from sales, marketing, customer service and support, product/operations and  any other functions within the business to make informed decisions. Key elements to consider as a pro user include comparing a supplier or customer’s most recent transactions with previous ones. Has there been a similar turnaround? Is the amount the same? What has changed? Are there any patterns you can identify? Is there a particular day of the week, month or quarter when the order takes place.  Is there a correlation between this and month end or any other significant calendar or business events? Understanding these subtleties helps guide your recommendations.

This information also allows the management team to set more accurate targets based on both historical records and your employee’s expectations for the coming months. When set up correctly, the business intelligence functionality can drive better decision making, which is the ultimate goal of operations management in any business or organisation.

Relationship Management

Maintaining a record of your previous interactions with a client is a huge example of how a CRM can benefit your business beyond making additional sales.

A history of the relationship with a given client can also provide you with a series of recommendations about their preferences. It also helps demonstrate how you have been proactive. This could mean ensuring the company is aware that a particular contact is keen on golf and so to promote the company golf day to them, it could mean they finish early on Fridays to pick up their kids from school or many other titbits of information that individuals in your organisation know that should be shared across the board and help the organisation understand the people it works with and not just the businesses overall.

We’ve already outlined how accurately recording this history can help you determine opportunities, and the same goes for patterns to problems. Your customers won’t want to have the same conversations with you over and over, particularly if there are difficulties or faults. Spotting a pattern of problems amongst one or more clients will enable you to act before they raise the issue and if it’s a technical problem provide greater context and evidence to the technical team.

In short, this access to information provides you with more opportunities to stand out from the crowd by ensuring the whole team are able to live up to, and then surpass, customer expectations.

Manage Your Processes Better

Most enterprise and business-ready CRM systems have some form of workflow system that allows you to automate reports, communications and activity. A well-designed process can be replicated within the very best systems to save time and allow your team to focus on providing your services and caring for your clients and customers.

An enterprise level system such as Microsoft Dynamics can go a step further and integrates with a huge number of external programs and systems to really empower your employees to make a bigger impact with their time. This is particularly true of Microsoft’s very own LinkedIn which will undoubtedly continue to roll out more and more features in time.

Integrations with marketing tools will allow your sales and marketing team to work closer together, tailor their efforts, understand what each other are doing and make strong decisions about campaigns and who to target. Integrations with support tools will allow your team managers to make resourcing decisions based on real-time data that accurately reflects your business on the ground-level.

Make Better Plans And Forecasts

The ability to report accurately on the past is a strong indicator of your potential as a business and will help you formulate plans and forecasts as we have outlined. It also matters how accurately you’ve been able to predict future results in the previous 2 years as teams and companies that can more accurately forecast tend to be more successful. As such, it is not only important that you can demonstrate that you are forecasting a strong future, but that you have lived up to your previous forecasts.

Summary

When considering your next strategic decision around a CRM system, we’d recommend looking above and beyond the sales potential of the tool and ensure you consider your:

  • Decision-making process
  • Internal and external reporting
  • 3rd party integrations which would make your team’s work easier
  • Plans to go above and beyond for customers and clients
  • Resources and how you plan to utilise your potential

If you can work in this way your CRM system is likely to add considerable value to your business over the coming years. You might not be convinced that you alone can change your business, but all great ideas started with one person.

If you can ensure you take each of the above into consideration whilst also empowering the various areas of the business who will be using the CRM system such as sales and marketing, HR, customer services and supply chain management, your CRM system is likely to add considerable value to your business over the coming years.

Top Five Business Investments You Need to Make in 2018

This year has been rife with uncertainty: from the unexpected general election to ongoing Brexit negotiations and different proposals (as well as U-turns) on changes to National Insurance charge. It is no wonder that there has been speculation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next month. We’re potentially entering a time in which many financial directors start to lose their nerve. Are we on the cusp of a second big crash? Should we all start planning to batten down the hatches and tighten our belts?

The answer for some businesses may be yes, but for many more, 2018 will be the year where investment in your business becomes crucial for your future prospects. You have to know where and in what to invest.

Invest in Innovation: Start by Identifying Your Business Bucket List

Investing in development usually means investing in innovation. If you start doing it before the rest of the herd, you’ll stand a better chance of getting ahead. Generally speaking, there are three types of innovation you should be considering: product innovation, creative innovation and business-model innovation.

Take the time to work out where you want to innovate across all three sectors and put these down as actions for your bucket list.

Be More Efficient: Invest in Processes

top business investments 2018

Start by researching the technology you need to improve. This is a no-brainer. If you have technology lined up that would streamline a process in your business, no matter whether you are a producer of physical products or the proprietor of ideas, your costs will go down and production will go up if you invest smartly. In a back office and admin sense, there are already lots of tech products on the market designed to make you more efficient. However, not all processes may be visible or identifiable yet. Call on your in-house staff to identify areas for investment and to identify the solutions to match.

Last year we wrote about how automation can help with improving processes.

Get All Employees Tech Ready: Invest in Training

You’d be surprised how many employees avoid using technology in the workplace – even simple things like Excel and PowerPoint – but once you’ve managed to avoid learning one new trend, the following advancements can become impossible to learn. Make tech fluency the norm and invest in training across the board. Make ‘people development’ rather than ‘new hire’ the buzzword in your business.

Attract Top Talent: Invest in Grad Schemes

It’s now time to admit that tech know-how is the most valuable skill across almost every business. However, elite tech grads in particular are being hoovered up into tech start-ups and giants alike, leaving everyone else behind. If you have the means to recruit and train tech grads in your own business, do it. Investing in people within tech will put your business in a new league.

Trust and Empower Your Staff: Invest in Flexible Working

Promoting remote working might sound scary to many employers. What they fear in particular is the idea that their remote workers are not actually working. However the trend is increasing in the UK (along with other countries such as USA and Japan) and is only set to continue in the coming years with 34 % of attendees at London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit saying that more than half of their full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020.

UK employment working from home graph 2000-2014

Share of those in employment who work from home in the United Kingdom from January to March 2000 to January to March 2014 [Source ONS]

If you’ve invested in the right kind of tech and if your employees’ roles are clearly defined, remote working results in a win-win situation for everyone involved. What’s more, you don’t need to constrain remote working to those within your company. Hire freelancers for part-time work, such as admin support and marketing tasks, and see your overheads drop.

So take the initiative and invest while others are scrambling to cut costs. Just remember to be clear on where your money is going and why.
The key word here is tech, but how you combine that with people is the key ingredient for success.

WANT TO FIND OUT HOW TO USE FINANCE TO INVEST IN IT AND INNOVATION?

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IT Lab offers finance to customers

World leading technology provider IT Lab joins Partner Programme

World leading technology and managed services provider joins Partner Programme

11 October 2017 – IT Lab has partnered with us to become the latest addition to the company’s independent finance Partner Programme. Under the terms of the agreement, we will partner with IT Lab to develop bespoke IT finance solutions for IT Lab clients including offering flexible commercial options for investment in technology solutions and services.

IT Lab is one of the largest technology and managed services providers in the UK, with over 400 staff and 850 clients. Wesleyan Bank’s innovative approach to financing solutions aligns well to IT Lab’s strategic approach to helping clients navigate the fast-evolving technology landscape. Ranked within the top 50 of the world’s most progressive 501 Managed Service Providers, IT Lab operates out of offices in London, Manchester and Cape Town and, via its global partners, in 13 cities across the world.

IT Lab joins UK’s premier IT finance partner programmeIT Lab Syscap finance programme

Our leading finance programme has over 900 partners, including mainstream IT software vendors, resellers, distributors and cloud infrastructure providers. As a partner, IT Lab will benefit from our dedicated account management and joint marketing engagement services, comprehensive training and a rewards and incentive scheme that awards points for every opportunity presented.

IT Lab’s sales and account management team have also been given access to Wesleyan Bank’s Partner Portal to help them accelerate their deal cycles and be more proactive in answering customer queries. The online platform provides a fast and easy way for partners to obtain a quote for payment, removing administrative burdens to ensure deals aren’t delayed when waiting for a credit decision.

Helping clients overcome budget restraints

 

Steve Deutsch, Chief Executive of Wesleyan Bank, said, “our vendor offering is unique in being able to fund a wider range of products and services through our comprehensive payment over time offerings. This ensures our partners do not have to bother with multiple companies in order to put together a total finance solution. This is particularly relevant when you consider a typical large scale IT project could have as many as 15 suppliers or components.”

“We are delighted to be IT Lab’s exclusive finance provider of choice and are looking forward to building on the strong initial momentum that our partnership has generated.”


We have offered tailored financial solutions and support to IT software vendors, resellers and distributors for many years and our partners include Autodesk, Infor, Sage, QBS Group and Softcat.

See more about the finance solutions we provide for partners.
Or talk with a member of the team now.

-ENDS-

Using Investments in Technology to Build New Competitive Advantages

When taking the decision to invest in a company’s future in, most commonly the Finance Director wants to be able to see the tangible benefit to their investment.

Whether they are looking to replace existing equipment or make a new purchase to improve on current offerings or change processes altogether the benefits of introducing the right technology to deliver them can take many forms. Below we set out some of advantages that investing in new equipment can bring.

why investment in technology means competitive advantage

Monetary Advantages

How can monetary advantages provide you a competitive advantage and what monetary advantages should you consider?

Predictability – the ability to align predictable incomes with your fixed costs, especially in industries where grants or contracts are in place, will improve your forecasting capabilities. Improved forecasting allows you to manage your workforce, target your spending and ensure you are able to invest when less predictable opportunities arise in future.

Cash flow –  by reducing the need for up-front payment, you are able to ensure that your cash reserves remain intact. It is possible to turn this into a competitive advantage by using these reserves to safely offer your customers credit terms that, in time, will produce additional and predictable future revenues.

If your organisation has a sales team, this kind of flexibility could also help them to win deals against competitors who cannot offer such terms.

Technology-Driven Capabilities

Your systems should always be designed to make the most of the great team you have employed. A great system will not just facilitate their work but also enhance their capabilities and provide them with a platform to work towards even better results in future.

So, what technology-driven advantages should you consider?

Capabilities – new technology can often provide you with the capacity to offer more products and services than you could before. By increasing or enhancing your offering in this way, you can attract larger clients or projects and produce a bigger impact on them as a result.

Processes – process improvements have often been the key driver in turning a strong competitor into a market leader. Think of Henry Ford and his assembly line, which transformed not just the company’s immediate capacity to compete but the way the entire industry operates today.

Time-saving – we all know the old saying ‘time is money’, and in this case it can be very true. If your employees are wasting time overcoming the challenges of needlessly difficult technology or time-consuming admin, the wastage on their time alone could be proving costly.

Team Size Time Wasted Per Day (Mins) Hours Lost Per Annum
1 15 60
5 15 300
10 15 600

If you can provide the same level of service as your competition in less time, this will drive down your costs and provide you with the options of reducing prices, improving profitability or using the time to enhance your services and go above and beyond for your clients.

Other Benefits

Whilst monetary and technology-driven advantages will probably be behind most investment decisions, there are a few other areas where sensible choices could provide a different kind of competitive advantage.

So, what other benefits should you consider?

Morale – we’ve probably all worked for a company where the technology simply doesn’t work, and it is frustrating. Given the amount of time modern workers spend on their computers, the importance of having the right equipment in place for your team cannot be underestimated if you are aiming to be a great place to work.

Public relations – securing media attention is often just a matter of turning a good decision into a great story. Consider the goals of your investment and the impact it’ll have on your customers or community. The bigger the impact, the more likely you are to be able to provide journalists with a great story that will promote your company in a positive light.

Tax and VAT– it is possible in some cases to spread the VAT, along with the cost of an asset, depending on the type of finance agreement, however this is not always the case. Similarly with Annual Investment Allowance “you can deduct the full value of an item that qualifies for AIA from your profits before tax” [source: gov.uk] up to the value of £200,000. Some exceptions and exemptions do apply.

Securing Your Competitive Advantage

Any of the benefits provided could feasibly be turned into a competitive advantage for your company. The three elements you need to consider in your decision are:

  • the impact you want the project to have
  • the best way to achieve that impact
  • and how will you pay for it.

Once you have those three core elements in place, it is wise to begin planning for the transitional period, and your employees will become a key factor in securing your competitive advantage.

We’d suggest working alongside the teams that will be impacted by the changes to ensure that they are on board with and excited about the improvements that the project will bring to their everyday working lives. By securing their buy-in for your investment, you can smooth the transition phase and get the best value for money out of your investment.

Transforming Tech-Savvy Kids into the Technologists of Tomorrow

The simplicity of technology now means that the core fan base of new and innovative products is getting younger and younger. It is evident that children are naturally interested in technology, but how can we take advantage of this passion?

The key to harnessing this potential is likely to come down to our ability to combine their love of technology with a robust STEM education.

In this blog post, we’ll define the STEM subjects and consider how they are applicable to the modern world, before exploring how children can develop an interest in toys, gadgets and gizmos into skills and attributes they’ll need in later life.

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What are STEM subjects?

The STEM subjects are science, technology, engineering and mathematics and there is increasing support for improving our STEM teaching methods. Many now believe that STEM subjects should be considered the key to giving children the skills they need to enter the workforce.

So, let’s look more closely at the four disciplines that make up STEM.

Science – a natural love of science is likely to be linked to an interest in discovering how things work through a series of experimentation. Developing these skills at an early age is likely to increase children’s chances of being able to code, methodically improve a process or imagine new (technology-driven) solutions to existing problems.

Technology – due to apps, social media and the growing popularity of the Internet, we are now more focused on the importance of technology than ever before. We are beginning to teach children about computer coding and it’s many applications. However, the pace of development means training for our teachers also needs to accelerate to keep up.

Engineering – this discipline is all about teaching kids to solve problems using technology, new ideas and the most suitable materials. Problem-solving is increasingly becoming the key ‘soft skill’ for candidates in the modern world. A natural inclination towards puzzles, riddles or construction toys may be an early indicator of engineering potential.

Mathematics – maths is probably the least popular but most important of all the STEM subjects. A strong understanding of the right principles of mathematics is probably the most potent way of enhancing children’s capabilities in the other STEM subjects.

How do we develop their love of technology?nurturing kids' love of technology

The UK has a rich history in computer gaming, sciences and the digital arts, which will need a technologically minded workforce to continue moving forwards and innovate. If we want to develop a world-beating workforce, we need to find new ways to promote the STEM subjects, encourage a love of technology in our children and help them develop their key skills.

It is important that as a society we broaden our horizons in our approach to teaching and learning at the same time. To be more inclusive with our education system so that the next generation have basic skills, but perhaps start to accept that what is a necessary basic skill today won’t be required in the future. Writing with pen and paper or driving manually are just two things that are sure to be less prevalent in the future. As technology and society evolves, so should our ways of teaching and the tools we use.

How can parents and educators look to kindle children’s future in STEM?

From a very early age children mimic behaviour. So like with any interest spending quality time together and actively exploring, whether looking at pictures, playing a game or visiting museums, exhibitions or events can be a good first step to encouraging a young mind.

using tech to promote skills for STEM futures

Children learn to navigate their way through simple apps and use tablets from an early age with parents often resorting to using online video and apps as a “digital babysitter”. However there’s also a plethora of great products, services and apps out there to engage and promote skills. We have found some great examples for different stages of their child’s development which can serve as a great aid to education and their future in STEM, but as with all technology exposure limits should still be set for well-rounded development.

Below we have included some ideas for inspiration for parents and educators to identify and encourage children with an interest and aptitude for a future in STEM.

Early years Cubetto is a friendly programmable robot toy that’s simple to use. The method is pretty easy to pick up, with some children learning the basics before they even go to school. Construction toys like Lego and Duplo are also popular choices that are easy to learn and allow creative play.

The most important thing at this stage is giving children the freedom to express themselves, the possibility for creativity and most importantly the space to have fun.

Development  – to progress at primary age children, need a little more of a challenge. They are likely to move on to an interest in games such as Osmo, Kano or even the early stages of playing Minecraft. During the development stage, we can determine whether they are ready to take their interest forward into more challenging applications or whether enjoyment is still the overriding factor for them. Their aptitude is mainly measured on their ability to learn the basics or grasping the logic or “rules” that govern their games and tools, following instructions and completing a series of tasks.

Technologist-in-the-making –  to encourage youngsters further you might expect to some signs that they are inquisitive and developing an interest in finding their own solutions to problems they encounter There are a lot of ways that will allow us to stretch their abilities. By introducing them to the more advanced elements of Minecraft, simple programming through HTML or Visual Basic, or even something like a Raspberry Pi to encourage them to expand their technological horizons further.

At this point, an interest in more abstract thinking and deeper problem-solving is likely to be a strong indicator of their potential for the all-important transferrable skills.

What role can businesses play?

Think about applications for public sector: There are some great examples of businesses offering fantastic applications of new technology for education. Google’s expedition programme is one of these, using VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) to explore up close new places and topics in a meaningful and engaging way. Once there is a way for schools and similar organisations to use your technology and tools there is still the question of how they access it.

Find a way to make technology accessible: Making new technology accessible to educational providers is vital. Many software providers offer school or academic licenses or discounts. Over the years we’ve also worked with many educational providers and businesses to help find suitable financial solutions that allow the school or other institution to spread the cost of software and associated IT costs. This goes a long way to helping institutions keep up-to-date with the technology being used in business, but it’s about more than that. It’s about offering free trials and offering to demo the technology. Older students’ and educators’ feedback can also in turn add value sharing the benefits for the business.

Partnering with an organisation to test your software might be a risk but it might also be a cost-effective way to uncover bugs and gain understand what works and what doesn’t, it can also provide you with insight about different applications and new features.

Share knowledge: Better knowledge sharing from companies facing challenges and at the forefront of innovation and encouraging staff to forge links with colleges and schools and share their experience and knowledge with the next generation is also integral to inspiring the next generation and ensuring they are working with the latest technology. This is of course easier said than done as some institutions don’t actively look outside their teacher pool who have heavy workloads and demanding priorities already. Nevertheless there is great potential to benefit both sides in the long term. This should prove enough incentive for everyone to be willing to make change work.