The Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the UK, welcomed today the increase in A-level entries in subjects such as mathematics, further mathematics, chemistry and physics, but warned that further progress was needed.

Professor Matthew Harrison, Director, Education Programme Coordinator, at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“For our nation to continue as a global leader in technology and innovation we need many more engineering graduates than the UK university system is currently producing. As part of a recent report, Educating Engineers for the 21st Century, the Academy surveyed over 400 companies and 88 universities. It found that the best UK engineering graduates are still world class but there are not enough of them and industry is already reporting skills shortages.

“This year’s increase in A level entries for subjects that provide the basis for studying engineering at university is encouraging, but we cannot afford to relax. While entries for mathematics were up by 7.3 per cent and further mathematics by 8.3 per cent in comparison to last year, the increase in physics A level entries was just 0.4% and chemistry A level entries were up by only 0.6 per cent. We need to build on these increases in the years ahead in order to enlarge the potential supply of students capable of studying engineering at degree level.”

Professor Harrison concluded:

“A level students today have so much freedom of choice in what they study. They choose to study subjects that they enjoy and feel confident with. For some this includes mathematics and science. However, there are so many job opportunities for young people with mathematics and science qualifications that it is worth finding ways of inspiring more people to continue with their mathematics and science studies beyond the age of 16. The new 14-19 diploma in engineering will do just this from September 2008.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Richard Wilson at The Royal Academy of Engineering