A-Level results: choose STEM subjects say industry chiefs

As hundreds of thousands of students from across the UK receive their A-Level results, industry leaders and education experts call for more take up of key courses in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics

by News Reporter on 16 August 2018 08:37


Industry leaders from across the UK have called for A-Level students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The call to action is raised in what is expected to be a ‘tough year’ for students, with more rigorous standards implemented to raise the credibility of the UK’s exam system.

Dr Rachid Hourizi, director, Institute of Coding said, “Today’s results mark a major step in the academic journey of thousands of young people across the country, with many planning to enter further study at University and some big choices ahead. It’s absolutely critical that all those considering STEM courses at University level are fully aware of the huge career opportunities available in the tech sector, which is growing rapidly.

"UK business leaders are crying out for experts in everything from cyber skills to data analytics, paying significant salaries to ensure the best and brightest sign up to their respective organisations. There has never been a better time to embark upon tech-level degree courses, with the associated skills of such qualifications in serious demand. Industry also has an important part to play in this process, and that’s why the IoC is forging fresh partnerships between our great universities and thriving businesses, so that the courses and qualifications we design and develop meet demand, providing fantastic career opportunities for the next generation."

Industry leader and serial entrepreneur Sheila Flavell, COO, FDM Group praised the hard work of students, but called for more diversity in the tech industry.

She said, “Today’s A-level results are the culmination of many years or research, revision and dedication from an incredibly bright generation of students, many of whom will have studied STEM subjects. With the digital skills shortfall causing alarm amongst business leaders, it’s more important than ever that the tech industry works hard to provide a clear career path for these talented individuals. Whether their next step is pursuing a degree, starting a business or joining an apprenticeship scheme, it’s vital that companies work hard to attract and retain technical talent from a diverse array of backgrounds. The UK’s tech industry will only continue to thrive it can truly reflect the society it serves; so attracting more women, minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds is essential to its long term future.”

But education guru Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise warned that the UK places too much emphasis on exam results when judging young people. He said, “Whilst everyone recognises that today’s results are a huge achievement for many students across the country, the UK needs to address its unhealthy obsession with exam results. Measuring the talents of a whole generation on academic attainment alone is insulting to a large portion of young people who choose a different path in life.

"Already the annual A-level results announcement feels a bit like Groundhog Day, with the successes of entrepreneurs and technical apprenticeship schemes going largely unnoticed. It’s time to start promoting business skills and recognising that these qualities are just as important than exam grades, if not more so, particularly with so many employers warning that high-flying students are seldom prepared for entering the world of work," he added. 

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