Secondary pathways into engineering

Secondary education and engineering, published in July 2022, looks at the secondary education landscape, including trends in entries and achievements for GCSEs/National 5s and A levels/Highers across the UK.

Performance in STEM qualifications at this level is one of the main ways to predict whether young people will continue into the relevant higher education. This can then help to predict whether there will be enough people ready to work in the engineering sector in the future. However, there are challenges for the engineering sector even at this early stage of the educational pathway.  

There is a critical shortage in STEM teachers, and a lack of presence of engineering on the curriculum. We have also seen a decline in entries for some of the STEM subjects that would facilitate a future career in engineering, and an underrepresentation of girls in the key STEM subjects that would allow the engineering workforce to become more gender diverse.

The accompanying Excel resource contains the data tables for secondary education in the UK, covering:

  • State funded secondary school population over time
  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland - STEM GCSE qualifications
  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland - STEM A level qualifications
  • Scotland - STEM National 5 qualifications 
  • Scotland - STEM Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications 
  • STEM teachers

Download the Excel resource

Download the report