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Poll results: Do A Levels provide enough preparation for future engineers?

27/08/2019
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It’s currently exam results season here in the UK and the media is awash with the usual litany of questions asking if ‘exams are getting easier?’ ‘Are today’s youngsters being tested for the right skills?’ etc. So here at EngineeringPro we decided to add to this flurry of questions by asking you – ‘Do A Levels provide enough preparation for future engineers?’ Here’s what you said…
Are current STEM A Levels enough to prepare students for a future in engineering?
Despite the fact that more students than ever received A Levels in STEM subjects this year, EngineeringPro readers seem to agree with the assessment of the IET that the current curriculum ‘limits the work-readiness’ of future engineers.

In what has been one of the most decisive results in an EngineeringPro Poll to date, a full 90.91% of you voted that current STEM A Levels are NOT enough to prepare students for a future in engineering.

Whilst we cannot read the minds of those who voted in the poll, we would hazard a guess that the lack of work-based and practical learning within current A Level curriculums is what prompted readers to vote overwhelming in the way that they did.

It’s an analysis which is echoed by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) which feels that STEM A Levels, as they are currently constituted, do not offer ‘work readiness’. 

In particular the IET is calling for ‘a more balanced combination of education and work experience to give students the right skills and insight into modern engineering careers.”
Industry bodies such as the IET have called for STEM A Levels to include more workplace based learning
Stephanie Baxter, IET Skills and Education Policy Lead has suggested that work experience should play a pivotal role within STEM A Levels:

“It’s fantastic to see an increase in young people choosing science-related subjects. However, it is crucial that young people are supported in their studies and without the right balance of education, work experience and careers guidance they might not be aware of the exciting range of engineering roles available to them, which in turn could be compounding the industry’s skills problem and limit their work-readiness. The country needs more people studying science and engineering subjects at university and taking up apprenticeships. It’s never too early to start developing the next generation of ‘homegrown’ engineering and technology talent that have the right practical skills for careers in modern engineering and we believe that a combination of education and work experience will help to achieve this.”

Are STEM A Levels fit for purpose?


So, do you agree with this assessment? Do current STEM A Levels need to be altered to include more practical workplace-based learning? Or are you one of the 9.09% of readers who voted that current STEM A Levels are fit for purpose?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. The most insightful, thoughtful comments will be featured in this week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.
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Poll results: Do A Levels provide enough preparation for future engineers? - Time to read 3 min
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