The narrow specialism of A levels has to go if the Government campaign launched last month to encourage more young people into engineering, the Year of Engineering Success, is to succeed, according to Conservative MP Michael Fabricant.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate on engineering last week, Mr Fabricant, MP for Mid-Staffordshire, said pupils in England and Wales specialise far too early and that this was damaging the engineering profession and the wider economy.
He said: "The so-called 'gold standard' forces 15 and 16-year-olds to choose just two, three or sometimes four subjects in which to specialise. That has to be wrong."
Mr Fabricant pointed out that the engineering industry employs 1.8 million people with forecast total sales for 1996 of Pounds 164 billion and exports of Pounds 82 billion.