GCSE results show there's no 'IT' in generation 'Y'

They were once called the ‘MySpace’ generation – the young people who play online computer games, use social networks and, most likely, manage their home PCs better than their parents do.

Yet GCSE and A-level IT results are in. And neither offer hope for plugging the IT skills gap with tech-savvy young talent from generation ‘Y’.

Today’s GCSE results showed a 17% decline in the number of students taking ICT courses compared to 2009.

Comparing 85,599 students gaining GCSE ICT in 2008 with 16,251 gaining computing and ICT A-levels in 2010, only 19% of GCSE students in 2008 carried the subject on to A-level.  

It seems odd that the most technological up-to-date generation are shunning IT courses and, thereby, IT careers.

There’s been a lot of debate about IT education. Some experts believe a lack of role models and non-relevant IT lessons are partly to blame.

Perhaps technology is so integrated into every facet of young people’s lives that studying IT as a stand-alone subject is outdated or just not interesting or relevant to the average young person.

Regardless of the reasons, Kevin Murrell, director and trustee at The National Museum of Computing, says our computer heritage is threatened.

“At The National Museum of Computing many of our displays showcase Britain’s contribution to world computing in previous decades, but one wonders if that level of achievement will be possible in the future.

“Employers tell us that a real skills gap in IT has developed — which I believe is often filled by outsourcing to other countries. We hope that new educational developments will encourage more students to study IT.”

Read about new educational developments and this year’s IT diploma results here.  

View the GCSE results here

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Using a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, email and web browsing are basic skills everyone leaving school should have. Those interested in why applications work and wish to pursue a career in IT should be given the chance to learn real IT skills, like networking and programing.
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Agree with Cliff completely. As an IT teacher in a secondary school, the subject is being abused by schools around the country. Vocational qualifications are being used as a 'cash cow' for gathering C grades to prop up school league tables. Pupils have no interest in the out dated applications that they are using and the schools are hampered by 'snail like' network infrastructure and LA wide software initiatives with poor contact centres. E-skills need to step up to the plate and start to adress these issues. If the UK is to lead in this industry, the IT industry needs to start making their software and hardware available for free to schools to stimulate creativity.
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One underlying issue that is not being addressed is the change in the operating model used by many companies. I work for one of the big banks and their model in common with other banks is to now only employ experienced managers. All the technical know how such as analysis and coding has been off-shored leaving only management on shore. This means that new entrants are unable to get a foot on the career ladder. The long term effect is that we end up with essentially an IT illiterate executive managing technical guys off-shore with no opportunities for school leavers here in the UK.
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One underlying issue that is not being addressed is the change in the operating model used by many companies. I work for one of the big banks and their model in common with other banks is to now only employ experienced managers. All the technical know how such as analysis and coding has been off-shored leaving only management on shore. This means that new entrants are unable to get a foot on the career ladder. The long term effect is that we end up with essentially an IT illiterate executive managing technical guys off-shore with no opportunities for school leavers here in the UK.
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There is also the issue of age. I am 51 years old and have excellent soft skills, good IT literacy, and a passion for using ICTs, built over 20 years of dedicated self-learning. I would be happy to become an IT apprentice, just as long as I could obtain some industry experience. My talents are absolutely wasted on the dole, and yet, no employer offers re-training to older workers from other sectors of the workforce. Until that elusive new boss notices my applications, I will continue self-learning and continue to build on my Open University credits. I could learn so much quicker, and be so much more productive, if I were able to perform within the workplace.
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