The UK Needs More Engineers!

By StudyLink

Recently there has been much discussion online, the newspapers and within engineering academic circles about the shortage of engineers in UK industry and the implications of that shortage for the UK economy’s recovery rate. Why? Simply because of the publication of the Perkins’ Review of Engineering Skills. Prof John Perkins is a key UK government adviser on the engineering industry and his review puts forward 22 recommendations to address short-term skills gaps whilst also encouraging more young people to become various types of engineers, including software engineers.
You may well ask if such a review was really necessary. Well, here are just a few examples of the many industry and government calls for more engineers to enter UK industry and for young engineers to be developed in schools:
    1. 26 Nov 2013 – Monarch Aircraft Engineering opens a new hangar to train young engineers
    2. 11 Oct 2013 – an extensive survey of UK businesses and academics reveals a skills gap for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects amongst graduates
    3. 04 Nov 2013 – Heathrow Airport calls for more female engineers in support of Tomorrow’s Engineers week
    4. 16 Sep 2013 – an e-skills UK report states the UK will need 300k new recruits to fill the IT employment gaps by 2023
    5. 04 Sep 2013 – Dyson (innovators of the cyclone technology for bagless vacuum cleaners) highlights the shortage of engineers available to hire
The Perkins Review affirms what many of the engineering professional bodies have been saying for some time:

What does all this news and talk have to do with YOU? If you’re reading this, then you’re probably interested in furthering your IT studies in the UK – perhaps seeking direct entry to a higher year on a Bachelor’s course, or maybe seeking postgraduate studies at MSc level. All the above recommendations and suggestions for policy changes in the UK are highly commendable. However, they will take time to implement and to feed through to tomorrow’s graduating engineers, as much of this development work will be happening in schools. The IT skills shortage exists now, so YOU have the opportunity NOW to take advantage of that skills shortage by sticking your foot into that career door.
Next steps – if you are planning such an education investment in the UK, then it is equally important that you consider the following when making your choice of study location, course and institution:
    1. Will your UK studies in IT be accredited by the BCS? Check on the course details of your chosen university for such accreditation – example here for postgraduate and also undergraduate
    2. Can you gain full Chartered Engineer status with your studies? Whilst a Bachelor’s should have been designed to maximise your exemptions from the professional exams, no BSc course can give you full CEng status, but some UK universities offer MEng courses so you can progress from BSc to study for 1 more year to achieve the CEng.
    3. Are there any opportunities for gaining relevant work experience? This depends on whether you are seeking full accreditation as a Chartered Engineer or a shorter-term research opportunity or just some part-time work in a relevant field:

  • For the CEng, you would have to consider entering a suitable undergraduate course that offers the MEng and thus requires a year working in industry as part of your degree .
  • For short-term research, as a postgraduate MSc student you need to assess if there are research opportunities, working with internationally-renowned professors, that you can undertake for your Project and Dissertation.
  • For part-time work opportunities, you need to be able to view, in advance of applying to your chosen university, what types of part-time work might be on offer that would enhance your IT skills and thus your CV.
  • What support will you receive in securing an IT career in the UK? Many international students are concerned about whether to study in the UK if there is then little time to secure a career in the UK after graduation. A lot depends on the quality of the careers service provided at your chosen university and, in particular, its support for international students.

Travelling, living, studying and working overseas provide people with the confidence to do many things that they would otherwise think to be outside their capabilities. This confidence enhances job prospects and provides opportunities for life. Choose the UK for your next career move!
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