Hands-on approach to IT is needed, say GCSE pupils

Children considering IT as a career want more interaction with businesses and say hands-on experience would get more young people into the profession.

Children considering IT as a career want more interaction with businesses and say hands-on experience would get more young people into the profession.

The plea came after children from Emerson Park School in Essex visited the Extrasys datacentre in London as part of their ICT GCSE course. The group's comments highlight concerns that the number of young people considering careers in IT is falling, leading to future difficulties for employers.

Tilly Travers, spokeswoman for IT sector skills council E-Skills UK, said, "The impact of technology is changing the way we live and work. This should make IT one of the most exhilarating subjects to study, yet every year fewer people choose to take computing at school."

E-Skills said that businesses could play a key role in helping reverse the decline in young people considering IT as a profession.

"We need to transform technology-related education, with courses that bring out the relevance of IT to modern day lives. Industry visits, work experience and real-world projects can provide a stimulating perspective on IT," said Travers.

The children from Emerson Park School said schools and businesses should join forces to show youngsters how IT works in the real world.They also think more young people would get involved if IT was made "more fun", and if they could see the relevance of the subject to their everyday lives.

One pupil said, "Businesses should show children more of what they are doing in IT."

Another said, "Seeing an IT working environment, with all the gadgets and electronics that are being used, will get more of them interested."

The internet is a big attraction for young people. All of the students in the Emerson Park class said they used technology for school work and to stay in touch with friends, listen to music, shop and read the news. Also, they all acknowledged the level of importance IT will have in the future.

One pupil said, "What first attracted me to IT is how much it will help me in the future, because we will depend on it. At school, it helps me keep track of what work needs doing."

The school has introduced personal e-learning accounts, which allow pupils and staff to log in on any personal or school computer and access educational materials. The system was installed by Extrasys.

Skills shortage in technology, warns IET >>

New starts in IT lack business acumen, says E-Skills UK >>

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