A multitude of youthful engineers

Three times as many schools and four times as many pupils have signed up to take the new GCSE in Engineering, official figures revealed today.

The figures show the industry has exceeded all its targets to attract youngsters to take up the subject when it was launched last September Then it was hoping to attract 1,000 youngsters in 60 schools. The reality is that 202 schools are now teaching the subject to 4,165 pupils, four times the original target. The number of schools is already above the September 2003 target figure of 160 set by EMTA, the national training body for engineering, science and technology. EMTA chief executive Dr Michael Sanderson said he was now hopeful of hitting his September 2004 target of 260 schools teaching the subject this year. "I am delighted with the number of schools who have responded magnificently to the challenge of teaching engineering and technology in a modern setting. The figures are very good indeed, especially when you take into account the colleges and Group Training Associations who are teaching the subject to a further 2,000 students outside of the school classroom." The figures show that a total of 6,391 youngsters are taking the new GCSE at a total of 335 schools, colleges and GTAs. Schools standards minister David Miliband welcomed the figures saying: "The new vocational GCSEs are offering young people the opportunity to study a wider range of subjects, such as engineering, manufacturing and business, alongside the traditional curriculum. They not only help young people to understand how what they are learning can be applied ion the world of work, but can help lead on to further study, such as vocational A levels and into Modern Apprenticeships. "We want to build on the success of these GCSEs to strengthen the vocational offer available to students. Vocational and academic qualifications can both be high quality; these courses render the distinction less and less useful." TS