In response to the Scottish and Welsh Governments’ announcements on the cancellation of National 5 exams in Scotland and GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels in Wales in 2021, Robin MacLaren, Chair of the Engineering Policy Group Scotland and Tom Crick, Member of the IET’s Education and Skills Policy Panel have jointly said:
“The Scottish Government’s decision to cancel National 5 exams (the equivalent of English and Welsh GCSEs) in Scotland in 2021 and the Welsh Government’s decision to cancel GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels in Wales in 2021 was obviously a difficult decision for them to make. The disruption it causes does however provide an opportunity for the engineering industry to work together with the education system.
As we go through unprecedented times, it would be advantageous to ensure learning is geared towards future jobs and has a focus on what employers would look for, such as an increase in hands-on, skills-based training. An increase in practical learning options could also encourage more young people to take employer-focused learning routes into an engineering career, such as Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.
“Addressing the skills gap as well as rebuilding the economy post-Covid-19 is a main concern across the whole of the UK and government should be fully behind promoting STEM subjects in educational settings in order to encourage a new pipeline of talent.
“To ensure there is no disruption in the skills supply-chain, it’s vital that providers of apprenticeships and other vocational routes are able to understand and critically assess these grades given to students in Scotland, Wales and across the United Kingdom when considering accepting new intakes. The Government across the UK needs to take the lead to encourage this and help bridge the gap between academia and industry.”