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40% drop in British students leaving school with an IT qualification will exacerbate future digital skills gap

40% drop in British students leaving school with an IT qualification will exacerbate future digital skills gap

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Data from Ofqual shows a steep decline in GCSE and A-level students studying ICT or Computing qualifications, down by 40% between 2015 – 2020. Education charity, Engineering Development Trust (EDT), and global cybersecurity leader, RSA Security, warn that if this downward trend continues, the UK IT industry and wider economy will suffer. Not only will it exacerbate the digital skills gap facing UK businesses, but young people will also be leaving education without the IT knowledge and skills needed to thrive in our increasingly digital society.

“Simply put, every student that chooses a different subject instead of IT represents a missed opportunity to develop the skills that will be essential to the UK’s success as a digital powerhouse,” comments Julie Feest, CEO of EDT. “The new Computing GCSE highlights this; while brilliant for young people who may have an interest in more technical programming and coding, it does not provide a grounding knowledge of the digital world. Students receive their qualification without being taught about essential topics like cybersecurity, digital ethics, fake news or social media – all of which are becoming more prevalent in society.”

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