Improved image and in-school activities needed

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is calling on more young people to study science, engineering and technology subjects.

IET chief executive Robin McGill, commenting on this year’s A-level results, said: “Whilst we are encouraged by the year-on-year improvement in overall pass rates, too few young people are taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects. There is a major need to change the image and profile of engineering and to improve education and in-school activities.

“Our own research into why young people are turned off by these subjects shows that the main barriers are the need for quality teaching, perceived difficulties of the subjects and negative views held about careers within the industry.

“Somewhere along the line we are letting young people down by not opening their eyes to the huge potential of a career in engineering and technology. We must take off the blinkers and provide a clear vision of what the future could look like.

“If we are to ensure we have a suitably qualified pool of people to be the next generation of scientists and engineers we must work together with education providers and government, as the solutions are only obtainable through effective partnerships. The IET is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to achieve this.

“Our recently published skills survey highlights employers’ skills expectations of school leavers and graduates. Employers want young people with good skills, particularly in the basics, and the ability to apply these.”