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Gloomy outlook for IT profession

Back to school for the UK today but amidst the 2010 GCSE results we see a worrying trend emerging for IT…

Whilst, the number of pupils taking single sciences has surged, the overall pass rate rose again to a record 69.1%. Against a backdrop of increased pressure on university places and lobbying by business leaders to encourage the take-up of single sciences in schools, entries for chemistry and physics GCSE rose by 32% in results published in early August, while those for biology were up 28% this year. Biology was the most popular of the three, with 129,000 taking the subject.

However, the decline continues in the numbers of students taking GCSE ICT, down markedly in 2010, with results showing 61,022 students taking GCSE ICT this year compared with 73,519 last year, representing a drop of 17%. Michael Dean, head of marketing at the NCC, believes the lack of role models in the IT sector is partly to blame.

"IT is a fundamental social enabler for the young with the use of social networking sites and mobile phones. Yet they seem to disconnect between the use of IT and the development of a career in IT," said Michael Dean. Students don't see IT as an attractive option as there are not enough role models," he continued.

"The lack of visible role models means young people making choices around the age of 14 potentially see IT as a boring, geeky subject dominated by males…. Equally the profession doesn’t appeal to women" Dean added.

Dean also believes the education system undervalues IT qualifications and fails to encourage young people into IT careers through GCSE and A-level courses.

ICT isn’t alone; the enthusiasm for modern languages is also on the wane… the number of students taking a language has dropped by a third since the government made them optional at GCSE six years ago. The decline of French has been striking; it has nearly halved to just over 170,000 entries compared with more than 300,000 in 2004, and fell out of the top 10 most popular subjects this year. Spanish appears poised to overtake German at GCSE; with the numbers taking it rising to over 67,000, while German entries have fallen to around 70,000 this year.

The NCC is interested in understanding the bigger picture of the lack of qualified ICT practitioners entering the workplace and how this impacts your business, email your thoughts to:
The full overview of GCSE results can be viewed at:

NCC Weekly News 6 September 2010



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