More needs to be done to encourage A-level students to take IT subjects, as the latest statistics show yet another fall in the numbers taking these exams this year.
The Tech Partnership, a network of companies who are collaborating in order to create the skills needed for today's increasingly digital UK, pointed out that only 13,650 students took ICT and Computing A-levels this year. That's just 1.6 per cent of the total A-level numbers, and a decline of 3.7 per cent year-on-year.
A decade ago, almost twice as many students took IT A-levels, 24,594 to be precise, or 3 per cent of the total number.
And the figures are even worse when it comes to young women, with only 27 per cent of ICT and Computing A-levels being taken by females, and it's worse still with the more technical Computing course, where only 7.6 per cent of students were female (just 314 across the whole of the UK). 44 per cent of those scored in the top three grades, versus 36 per cent for boys, though.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director, of HP Enterprise Services UK, and Tech Partnership board member, commented: "Tech qualifications at this level should stretch and excite young people, introducing them to the absorbing world of computing, and giving them the skills for a rewarding career. Instead they seem to be putting potential tech stars off the subject altogether. It is time for government, industry and academia to work together to find a solution to this problem."
Karen Price, Chief Executive of the Tech Partnership, talked about the danger of young folks being put off the tech industry for life by "poor quality content" in terms of tech education, and uninspiring qualifications.
She said: "This is a profound concern for tech employers, and it's a tragedy for the young people who could miss out on the chance to build a worthwhile career. The Partnership is committed to improving this state of affairs, building on e-skills UK's track record of successful interventions, and working constructively with the many stakeholders in this area."