E-Skills calls for business push on higher-level tech studies

IT sector education body E-Skills UK has called for businesses to play a more active role in getting students to study computing and ICT at A-level and beyond.

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IT sector education body E-Skills UK has called for businesses to play a more active role in getting students to study computing and ICT at A-level and beyond.

The call comes after last week’s A-Level results revealed more heavy falls in the number of students taking technology subjects at that level.

Karen Price, chief executive at E-Skills UK, said: “We urgently need to change attitudes and stimulate demand among young people for technology-related degrees and careers.

“Employers have a vital role to play in helping schools and colleges to bring technology to life for students.”

E-Skills, along with employers, has started by developing the new Diploma in IT for 14 to 19 year olds, which will be available from September 2008.

Price said the course would “give students a real understanding of the transformational power of technology and its impact on business, individuals and society”. It aimed to help students develop technology systems as well as business cases for technology, and to help them learn how to manage IT projects.

The number of students taking computing A-levels fell 10% from 6,233 in 2006 to 5,610 this year, and is around half of the 2001 figure. Numbers taking ICT A-level fell 6% to 13,360.

There is also only a small proportion of women studying technology courses. While one in three students on ICT courses were women, they represented only one in 10 students on computing courses, where there are more programming and technical elements.

But mathematics continued its upward trend this year, with an increase in entries of 7.3%, while entries for further maths were up 8.3%.

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