UCAS reports rise in students choosing to study engineering

Great news for the engineering skills gap, as UCAS report that more undergraduates are taking up places on engineering courses at UK universities.

Engineering studying in the UK

We've often talked about the enormous shortfall in skilled young engineers in this country. According to figures from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) the UK needs around 87,000 new engineers – every year – to meet the demands of the industry.

Thankfully, efforts to entice more students to take up engineering as a career path seem to be working. Latest figures from the higher education applications body, UCAS, revealed that applications to study engineering have increased by seven per cent on last year for all domiciles and by nine per cent for UK applicants.

According to the IET's engineering and technology magazine, E&T: “UCAS logged 114,160 applications for engineering courses throughout the UK this year, plus 95,250 for computer sciences. A total of 13,800 EU students opted for engineering courses - a seven per cent increase on the previous year - and 11,530 applied for computer sciences.”

Verity O’Keefe, senior employment and skills policy advisor at EEF, told E&T: “Today’s figures show that the number of applicants to study engineering has increased by seven per cent. This is a much needed upward tick for our sector which continues to cry out for young talent. Manufacturing needs to find almost one million workers by 2020 simply to replace those retiring or leaving industry,” she said.

O’Keefe added: “If we are to meet this challenge head-on and provide the skilled workers that industry needs, the number of UK engineering graduates needs to increase significantly. While today’s statistics show good progress is being made, applications are just the beginning. We must fix the ‘leaky’ engineering pipeline to ensure that today’s applicants will become tomorrow’s skilled engineers.”

The UK Government has also confirmed that the provisional number of apprenticeship starts in engineering and manufacturing technologies is expected to be 65,800 from August 2014 to April 2015 in England – well on track towards their target of delivering three million more apprenticeships by 2020.

We listened to what employers told us they needed and have invested in apprenticeships to ensure their workforce have the quality skills needed to grow the business

Nick Boles, skills minister, told E&T

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