IET: Northern Ireland rallies to the STEM cause

Today’s publication of GCSE exam results in Northern Ireland reveals increases in the number of students taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is delighted to see these GCSE STEM increases and the high grades being achieved, which echoes the recent A-level performance by Northern Ireland students.

Paul Davies, IET Head of Policy, said: “Analysis of this year’s GCSE results shows very welcome increases in the number of students studying STEM subjects.

“Given the reported tougher GCSE science and mathematics questions it is pleasing to see the high grades being achieved which is a testament to the hard work by the students and the dedicated excellence of Northern Ireland teachers.

“Particularly welcome is the increase in the number of female candidates studying mathematics (and additional mathematics) in addition to the sciences.

“Encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers is an important route to ensuring that Northern Ireland has the necessary science and engineering workforce needed for future economic success.  To attract and retain women in the profession there should be employment policies to enable them to balance their work and home-life accordingly.”

The IET Engineering Skills & Demand in Industry Report 2013 revealed that just seven per cent of the engineering and technology workforce was female.