GCSE results for 2008 show uptake for the IT GCSE is in steady decline. Some 85,599 UK students sat the exam this year, compared with 99,656 in 2007.
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Uptake in 2007 had already fallen from the previous year, with 109,601 students taking an IT GCSE in 2006. Around 25 per cent of students got a grade D in 2008 making it the most commonly awarded grade for the second year running.
Rob Chapman, CEO of IT training company Firebrand, believes there needs to be a shift in the way a career IT is perceived. "When you look at the skills gap and how IT is paid you would think students would realise that studying IT means they are likely to get a job and are likely to be paid well. There's also this perception that IT workers are fat, smelly, hairy, and wear sandals. People don't seem to realise that developing applications for Facebook is a job in IT."
Chapman believes the lack of students engaged in IT could have an impact on UK businesses. "If this leads to a skills shortage there will either be an increase in the wages paid to IT workers or offshoring."