More students than ever have been accepted on to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, according to new figures published by the Higher Education Funding Council (Hefce).

In 2013-14, 98,000 students were accepted on to STEM undergraduate courses, the highest level ever recorded and an 18 percent rise since 2002-03. Acceptances on to engineering and technology courses “bounced back” by 6 percent after a decline, returning to the peak levels of 2010-11. Acceptances to computer science courses increased by 12 percent compared with the previous year, and are now at their highest point since 2003-04.

In addition to the numbers of students accepted on to courses, Hefce also studied the figures for those applying; finding applications for STEM courses are also high. The biggest increase in applications has been in computer sciences, at 13 percent, with applications in engineering and technology also having risen by 11 percent compared to the previous cycle.

Eric Doyle, Regional Director – Europe at Aquaterra Energy, said: “With both applications and acceptances to STEM courses rising steadily, it appears the nation’s commitment to ending the shortage of STEM students is making headway; Aquaterra Energy is pleased to see that more young people are choosing to follow careers in science, maths and engineering. We remain fully committed to ending the STEM skills shortage by providing valuable work experience and high quality, paid apprenticeships in partnership with a number of learning institutions across the UK.”