Lack of interest in ICT lessons could threaten UK economy

The Royal Society has recently highlighted the risks of a falling number of students studying ICT in schools. The organisation, which represents all areas of science and engineering, found a 33% decrease in the number of students studying both the ICT GCSE and the ICT A level over the last three years.

The Society states that the figures, published as part of an ongoing research study which is backed by leading technology organisations including Google and Microsoft Research, point to a need to change the way that ICT is taught in schools.

Chair of the study Professor Steve Furber said,

“If we cannot address the problem of how we educate our young people in inspirational and appropriate ways, we risk a future workforce that is totally unskilled and unsuited to tomorrow’s job market.”

As with all subjects, a great way to engage students in studying ICT is to illustrate the many and varied career progression opportunities that the subject provides.

At CASCAiD, we regularly explore our databases to see what the tens of thousands of young people who use our careers information and guidance programs are searching for.

Careers involving IT seem popular, with our Career Family article covering computing careers currently being our forth most popular topic of its type.

However, when we look at what subjects young people are searching for information on in our programs, ICT is only the twelfth most popular.

CASCAiD Chief Executive, Lynda Lacey said,

“The need for higher-level ICT skills is becoming necessary for an ever-increasing number of careers. It is vital that young people see the link between the skills that they will learn in ICT subjects and the career opportunities that those skills will open up to them.”

“There are a number of careers, such as Computer Games Designer, that our usage statistics show as being popular with young people, which require a high level of ICT skills and knowledge. However, there are also a large number of careers which young people may not see as requiring ICT skills but which have an increasing reliance on those skills. The teaching and retail sectors, for example, have a rapidly growing need for professionals to develop and deliver electronic content.”

CASCAiD programs help to introduce students to the links between subjects and the career progression opportunities that they provide.

You can read the Royal Society’s full research report by clicking here.

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