New data from UCAS has shown a big shift toward technology-based subjects, with significant growth in applications to engineering and computer science degrees.
The application and acceptance data for the 2020 cycle has revealed that STEM subjects are continuing to increase in popularity with acceptance to computer science courses rising from 20,420 in 2011 to 30,090 in 2020 and acceptances to engineering degrees up from 25,995 in 2011 to 31,545 in 2020.
Lydia Amarquaye, education policy adviser at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, described the figures as encouraging, adding that the IMechE hopes to see a further increase as young people see the value and employability of engineers through their response to challenges prevented by the pandemic.
“In Engineering UK’s briefing paper Young People and Covid-19, it was seen that young people were generally more aware of the role that engineers played in the effort to combat the pandemic. Some were also more aware of the importance of having a job that enabled them to make a positive societal contribution,” Amarquaye said.
“Through the industry’s accreditation programmes, we continue to monitor engineering degrees to ensure that the skills and knowledge being taught at universities are relevant for industry and the ever-evolving demands on society, including energy and sustainability.”
Acceptances to artificial intelligence (AI) courses have risen by 400 per cent in the last decade. Julia Adamson, director of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said that AI degrees will continue to attract a wider range of students than ever as the technology becomes essential to solving challenges in every sector.
“A growing and diverse pipeline of talent in Computer Science and AI is essential for the UK’s economic recovery and its global competitiveness,” Adamson said in a statement. “The establishment of the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) is giving more young people a positive experience of computing at school and helping to create demand for the subject at degree level and beyond.”