Commenting on today’s A-level results, Verity O’Keefe, Senior Skills Policy Adviser at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says: “Today’s A-level results present a mixed bag for business. Industry applauds all those young people who have chosen to study challenging STEM subjects and the 4% jump in the number of young people taking maths at A-level is encouraging. But there are some worrying trends, including minor decreases in the numbers achieving top grades in subjects like physics, maths and chemistry and a dip overall in the number of students taking the sciences.
“Government, schools and industry need to work harder to encourage more girls to take up STEM subjects. While the gap closed slightly again for physics the pace is too slow and, for maths, the gender gap has actually widened.
“The door to a career in manufacturing is wide open for young people, especially those that have made the grade in the sciences and maths. But manufacturers can only grow and prosper when they have ready access to a wide pool of talent. Without greater encouragement for girls to take up key subjects such as maths and physics, that pool remains worryingly shallow.”