More needs to be done to encourage A-level students to take IT subjects, as the latest statistics show yet another fall in the numbers taking these exams this year, warns an employer group.
The Tech Partnership, a network of companies collaborating in order to create the skills needed for today's increasingly digital UK, have just issued analysi that shows a mere 13,650 students took ICT and Computing A-levels this year - 1.6% of the total 2014 A-level candidates and a very sharp drop of 3.7% year-on-year.
To put that in context, a decade ago almost twice as many students took IT-related A-levels - 24,594 or 3% of the total cohort.
And the figures are even worse when it comes to young women, with only 27% of ICT and Computing A-levels being taken by females.
Arguably, it's worse still with the more technical Computing course, where only 7.6% of students were female (just 314 across the whole of the UK). Of those, though, 44% scored in the top three grades, versus 36% for their male counterparts.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director, of HP Enterprise Services UK and Tech Partnership board member, commented: "Tech qualifications at this level should stretch and excite young people, introducing them to the absorbing world of computing, and giving them the skills for a rewarding career.
"Instead they seem to be putting potential tech stars off the subject altogether. It is time for government, industry and academia to work together to find a solution to this problem."
Karen Price, Chief Executive of the Tech Partnership, fears there's a real danger of young people being put off the tech industry for life by "poor quality content" in terms of the tech education they get in school, and uninspiring qualifications.
"This is a profound concern for tech employers, and it's a tragedy for the young people who could miss out on the chance to build a worthwhile career.
"The Partnership is committed to improving this state of affairs, building on e-skills UK's track record of successful interventions, and working constructively with the many stakeholders in this area."