Is a new age of engineering about to begin?

Published: 05 Nov 2013

The government has recently announced plans to boost science and engineering courses at Universities by £400 million. Will the knock on effect usher in a golden age of engineering?

What’s being done to encourage more people into engineering?

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced that a support package to boost engineering in the UK would be delivered to help get engineering and the ratios of men to women, back on track. Currently only 6% of the engineering workforce is female.

The package consists of the following:

  • £400 million capital investment. This breaks down into a £200 million fund from the government, which universities will match on a one-to-one basis. The aim of this is to improve the university infrastructure and create world-class facilities and teaching. The competition from these funds will also act to support the drive to improve diversity and equality at degree level.
  • A partial relaxation of current rules that means part-time students who have already studied for a degree being denied fee support. This opens the doors for people to retrain in engineer, technology, and computer science and get tuition support.

Existing initiatives to get more women into the engineering workplace have been going on for a while now, with a 46% increase in the number of girls taking GCSE physics since 2010. The government hopes to capitalise on this rise and push it further, which will work with the National Centre for Universities and Businesses’ aim to double the proportion of engineering degrees taken by women from the current numbers of 16% to 30% by 2030.

Minister Willets said: “Investing in national infrastructure is a key part of this government’s economic strategy. This new funding will provide world class, industry standard facilities and teaching for students. These facilities will also help bridge the gender gap that exists and give more incentives for women to retrain as engineers and put their skills to great use.”

Another is to keep the United Kingdom current and on top to help our businesses stay competitive and ahead in the global engineering talent stakes.

The £200 million will be provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and funds will be allocated with diversity in mind. The Department for Business was also included in the drive, which saw an announcement that it would be working with major engineering employers and institutions to find young engineers to help persuade more young people into engineering. Part of this will happen during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, which takes place November 4-8 and is aimed at raising the profile and suitability of engineering careers for young people.

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week will take place from November 4-8 and aims to change perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers. The week will help to challenge outdated negative perceptions about engineering careers, particularly amongst women, and demonstrate the relevance of engineering to young people’s everyday lives.


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