Engineering sees UK resurgence, says Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Published: 10 Feb 2012

Engineering sees UK resurgence, says Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

IMechE reaches 100,000 members.

A surge in applications for engineering degrees and a historic milestone for one of the UK’s oldest engineering institutions are signs of a much-needed resurgence in the profession, says the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Stephen Tetlow, Chief Executive of the 164-year old Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The country of Brunel, Stephenson and Whittle is witnessing a much-needed resurgence in engineering. It is more popular among British students than ever and the growth of engineering-based industries, such as UK car manufacturing, is proving to be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy economic backdrop.

“Yet we cannot be complacent. Engineers play an increasingly vital role in almost every major industry, from medicine to energy, yet the UK still needs 19,000 extra engineering graduates every year over the next five years to meet future demand for engineering jobs.

“The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ membership reaching 100,000 is an historic milestone and an important signal that the engineering profession is growing in size and stature.”

An analysis of UCAS figures by the Institution shows a surge in applicants to engineering subjects since the 2008 financial crisis. There was a 35% rise in prospective students choosing engineering subjects in 2010 from 2007 levels, with mechanical engineering the most popular engineering discipline. More students are now choosing engineering than law, languages or teaching.

The latest preliminary UCAS figures for 2012 applications – the year in which tuition fees will rise to up to £9,000 – show a slight decrease in engineering applications of 1.8%. This is, however, a smaller decrease than all but three other single subject areas, and well short of the average drop of 6%. The final UCAS figures will be released at the end of this month.

County Antrim engineer Nicola McClatchey was named as the 100,000th member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which has grown from 75,000 members in 2007 – an increase of 33% in five years.

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