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More students taking STEM subjects

More students taking STEM subjects

Published: 18/08/2017

The number of students sitting A-levels in science, technology, engineering and maths-related (STEM) subjects rose in 2017, with 41% of A-level entries overall in STEM subjects, up from 40% in 2016. 

School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, said strong uptake in maths and further maths as well as “increasing entries to science, technology, engineering and maths subjects bodes well for the economic prosperity of our country. It will help to grow our workforce in these sectors, allowing young people to secure well-paid jobs and compete in the global jobs market of post Brexit Britain”. 

“Increasing the number of girls studying STEM subjects has been an important objective of the Government, so it is particularly pleasing to see that more young women are taking STEM subjects.”

Overall entries for A-level Computing in particular have more than doubled in the past five years, with the number of female candidates on the increase. 2017 is also the first year since 2004 that more female students than male studied chemistry. 

Peter Finegold, head of education and skills policy and research at IMechE, told Professional Engineering that the upward trend in STEM numbers was “gratifying”. He added that “translating this success and enthusiasm into engineering jobs will require a robust - and long-awaited - government career strategy that will help pupils, their parents and teachers to appreciate the breadth of opportunity on offer.” 

According to EngineeringUK, the annual shortfall of engineering graduates is at least 20,000. Their “The state of engineering” 2017 report also notes that the supply of postgraduate-level skills in engineering and computing is currently highly dependent on international graduates studying in the UK. 

Please click for the government’s full statement on A level results day.