The figures, based on research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), also highlight the full range of degree courses that students who have obtained the BTEC qualification are entering. These include biology, chemistry, engineering and art. Most notably, the number of places offered to BTEC students applying to study STEM subjects has seen a dramatic increase between 2007/2008 and 2008/2009:
- 46% year-on-year increase in BTEC students studying biology
- 50% year-on-year increase in BTEC students studying maths
- 45% year-on-year increase in BTEC students studying engineering
Professor Alison Wolf has been commissioned by the government to review vocational education in schools and colleges and will be reporting in the spring.
Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, commented: “We are delighted to see that so many BTEC students are progressing to university. In light of last week’s discussion around the English Baccalaureate, these figures highlight that BTECs give students the skills they need to progress to higher education. Significantly, these statistics show that admissions tutors recognise their worth.
“The UK is facing a long-term skills gap. We can only address this if we ensure that young people are encouraged to gain relevant skills both for the future of our economy and for their own future success. Consequently, it is essential that we safeguard the provision of vocational learning in schools and colleges. Pearson is therefore calling for Professor Wolf to recognise and value vocational qualifications such as BTECs, which the HESA’s figures show open doors for tens of thousands of people every year.”
Alexandros Pamnani, 20, from Croydon, decided to undertake a BTEC National Diploma in Vehicle Technology and Mechanical Engineering at Croydon College after realising that A levels didn’t provide the specialist knowledge he needed for a career in business management in the engineering sector. Alexandros achieved two triple distinctions last year, allowing him to win a place at Loughborough University where he is now in the first year of his Engineering undergraduate degree.
Said Alexandros Pamnani: “When I left school at 16, I never thought I would be in the position I am now. Achieving my BTEC has enabled me to progress to a top university to study for a sought-after degree. Through a combination of academic and practical learning, BTECs give people the skills they need to progress to employment and higher education. The qualification armed me with in-depth knowledge and real-life scenarios that I will be able to apply to the world of work.”
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Notes for editors:
While the vast majority (82 per cent) of students with BTECs at university study towards undergraduate degrees, others opt for postgraduate qualifications (4 per cent), Higher National Certificates (3 per cent), Higher National Diplomas (3 per cent), and foundation degrees (8 per cent).
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