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Education and Training

Engineering

The engineering sector recognises it has an urgent need to up-skill its workforce. Education and training is a rapidly developing area for the engineering sector. There is a move towards higher level professional and technician occupations and a decrease in the craft and operator/assembler occupations. This means that there is a growing need for people qualified as graduate engineers and higher level technicians with HNC/HNDs.

Research has shown that public perceptions of professional engineering are good. However, young people may be less informed about engineering than in the past. Further research suggests that young people are choosing a career in engineering because they are interested in the area and have a role model. Others, such as teachers and careers advisers, were also found to have some influence on young people’s decisions.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010, SEMTA 2006 and SEMTA website

The sciences

  • 71% of sites recruit BSc graduates
  • 60% recruit PhD graduates
  • 36% recruit MSc/MChem graduates
  • 26% recruited overseas graduates
  • 15% of sites have a formal graduate trainee scheme

However, the number of universities offering Bioscience-related subjects is declining. The number of first degrees gained in Bioscience-related subjects has declined over the last six years: by 27% in Biological Sciences and by 23% in Chemistry. Only a small minority of the graduates in these relevant subjects enter the Bioscience industry or go onto higher degrees in the subject. Plus, only 5% of all the higher educational qualifications achieved in 2006 were in the sciences relevant to the Bioscience sector; and the take up of Foundations Degrees, HNC/Ds and BTEC National Certificates is low. There may be opportunities to expand capacity in this area to increase the number of technicians coming into the industry by this route.

Source: Biosciences Skills Sector Agreement Stage 2 2008 and Semta Bioscience Sector Skills Agreement Stage 1 2007


Vocational qualifications

Engineering

England

  • There are 56 CoVEs within England identified as being relevant to engineering sector employers.
  • 38 of these CoVEs are FE Colleges/Higher Education institutions and 18 are either employer training centres or independent providers.
  • A wide range of CoVE specialisms exist in England across the engineering sectors.
  • The highest number of Work Based Learning enrolments in England related to the NVQ in Performing engineering Operations (18% of all WBL enrolments in the region), the NVQ in engineering Maintenance (15%), the NVQ in engineering Production (7%) and the NVQ in Aircraft engineering Maintenance (6%).

Scotland

  • In total, 20,234 engineering qualification aims were undertaken in Scotland in 2006/07.
  • The Adam Smith Institute is by far and away the largest provider of engineering FE courses, accounting for about 28% of all such provision in Scotland.

Wales

  • There were nine institutions within Wales offering a total of 19 HNC courses relevant to the engineering sector.
  • There were five institutions within Wales offering a total of 12 HND courses relevant to the engineering sector.
  • There were eight institutions within Wales offering a total of eight Foundation Degrees relevant to the engineering sector.
  • In terms of the main training providers for engineering in Wales in 2004/05, 56% of engineering learning activities were undertaken in Further Education and 39% were work-based learning.
  • NVQs accounted for about 81% of all provision for the engineering sector by qualification type and learning provider in 2004/05.

Northern Ireland

  • Two of Northern Ireland’s six Further Education colleges, South Eastern Regional College and Northern Regional College, are Centres of Excellence in Manufacturing Engineering.
  • Five institutions in Northern Ireland offer both HND and HNC qualifications relevant to the engineering sector and two institutions offer Foundation Degrees relevant to the engineering sector.

The sciences

The main sub-degree ‘qualifications’ of importance to the Bioscience sector include:

  • ‘BTEC/ScotVEC’2 qualifications: Higher National Certificates/Diplomas and other qualifications (HNCs/HNDs, National Certificates/Diplomas and BTEC ‘First’ Certificates/Diplomas)
  • Foundation Degrees
  • National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications
  • Apprenticeships
  • Young Apprenticeships

Source: Engineering Skills Balance Sheet Reports 2008, Biosciences Skills Sector Agreement Stage 2 2008 and Semta Bioscience Sector Skills Agreement Stage 1 2007

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Engineering apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship schemes in engineering have to meet the needs of very different types of employers and very different levels of work. It needs to cover traditional engineering skills across diverse sectors, together with skills for new sectors such as electronics and semi-conductor technology. New modern working methods, such as multi-skilling, team and cell working, and modern manufacturing and control techniques, have to be included in order to address future skill needs

Preparation for trained operator/semi-skilled status within the industry is best achieved through the Apprenticeship scheme. In some instance the scheme provides progression to an Advanced Apprenticeship or higher-level work.

The Advanced Apprenticeship in engineering scheme helps apprentices to achieve skilled and/or technician status within the industry. Where it is appropriate, the scheme provides positive progression to Higher Education or a Higher Apprenticeship. There is a lack of funding provision for Level 4 within an Advanced Apprenticeship.

There is a shortage of young people starting apprenticeships and similar schemes as a result of:

  • the poor image of the sector
  • the pressure on young people to stay in full-time education post-16
  • the relative fall in the numbers of young people studying mathematics and science at ‘A’ level
  • the perceived (by employers) fall in the standard of mathematics at both GCSE and ‘A’ levels

Source: SEMTA 2006 and SEMTA website

England

  • There are 293 centres offering engineering Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships, 95 offering Industrial Applications Apprenticeships and 10 offering Metals Industry Apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeship starts in England increased from 9,106 in 2002/03 to 11,340 in 2005/06.
  • There were a total of 5,655 people in England on the engineering Apprenticeship Frameworks in the first nine months of 2006/07, with the South East having the highest number (1,089) of any region.
  • The vast majority of these apprenticeships in England either related to the engineering Framework (82%), or to the Industrial Applications Framework (17%).
  • A total of 5,256 people started on engineering Advanced Apprenticeship Frameworks in England in the first nine months of 2006/07.
  • There are 130 pupil places for the engineering Young Apprenticeships.

Scotland

  • 29% of all engineering establishments within Scotland employed apprentices or recognised trainees (22% for UK engineering). This varies quite considerably by size of establishment, ranging from 60% of those establishments employing 250 or more employees to only 11% of those employing less than 10 employees.

Wales

  • 23% of all engineering establishments within Wales employed apprentices or recognised trainees.
  • Employment of apprentices or recognised trainees varies quite considerably by size of establishment, ranging from 50% of those establishments within Wales employing 250 or more employees to only 10% of those employing less than 10 employees.
  • There were a total of 1,313 people in Wales that started on the engineering Apprenticeship over the period August 2005 - July 2006 and 1,213 on Industrial Applications Apprenticeship framework over this same period.

Northern Ireland

  • 31% of all engineering establishments in Northern Ireland employed apprentices or recognised trainees. However, this varies considerably by size of establishment, ranging from 67% of those establishments employing 250 or more employees to only 16% of those employing less than 10 employees.

Source: Engineering Skills Balance Sheet Reports 2008

A third of organisations employing apprentices or recognised trainees employ them in crafts occupations (36%) and a similar proportion employ them as technician engineers/engineering technicians (33%).

Source: BMG Research Report 2007

For more information on engineering apprentices go to the EngineeringUK briefing The Apprenticeship Renaissance (2010).

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Biosciences apprenticeships

In addition, a new programme of Young Apprenticeships (14-16) has recently been introduced in England. Generally, take-up of Apprenticeships in this area has been very low, with only England having non-negligible volumes of learners.

Source: Biosciences Skills Sector Agreement Stage 2 2008

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Engineering higher education

England

  • In 2005/06, there were 22,280 first year engineering students in Higher Education across the UK from England, while 20,920 first year engineering students were studying in England, representing a net outflow of 1,360 students.
  • The three main engineering subject areas for first year students studying in England in 2005/06 were Electrical and Electronic engineering (27%), General engineering (20%) and Mechanical engineering (19%).

Scotland

  • In 2005/06, there were 36 Electrical and Electronic engineering courses, 29 Mechanical engineering courses, 13 Production and Manufacturing engineering courses, nine General engineering courses, five Aerospace engineering courses, three Naval Architecture courses and two Material Science and Metallurgy courses.
  • There were about 3,300 first year Higher Education students that were domiciled in Scotland in 2005/06. Overall, numbers fell from a total of about 4,200 in 2001/2 (a drop of 21%).
  • The most popular courses for students studying in their first year within Scotland were Mechanical engineering, Electrical and Electronic engineering and General engineering.
  • With the exception of Electrical and Electronic engineering, Mechanical engineering, Production and Manufacturing engineering, Aerospace and Naval Architecture, for which there is either no or a marginal net outflow of students, engineering related provision in Scotland does not appear to be relatively well developed.
  • At postgraduate masters level, in 2005/06 there were five Higher Education Institutions providing courses in Electrical and Electronic engineering, three Higher Education Institutions providing courses in Mechanical engineering, two Higher Education Institutions providing courses in General engineering, Production and Manufacturing engineering, Naval Architecture, and Material Science & Metallurgy and one Higher Education Institution providing Aerospace courses.

Wales

  • In relation to provision for first degrees, in 2005/06 within Wales there were 15
  • Electrical and Electronic engineering courses, 12 Mechanical engineering courses, eight Aerospace engineering courses, seven General engineering courses, six Automotive courses, two Production and Manufacturing engineering courses and two Material Science and Metallurgy courses.
  • In relation to provision for postgraduate masters courses, in 2005/06 there were four Higher Education Institutions providing courses in Electrical and Electronic engineering, three providing courses in Mechanical engineering, two providing courses in Aerospace engineering, one providing a course in Production and Manufacturing engineering and one Higher Education Institution providing a postgraduate course in Automotive engineering.
  • Based on this analysis it is clear that engineering related provision in Wales appears to be relatively well developed, in particular, Electrical and Electronic engineering.

Northern Ireland

  • In relation to provision for first degrees, in 2005/06 there were four Mechanical engineering courses, four Electrical and Electronic engineering courses, three General engineering courses, two Production and Manufacturing engineering courses and two Aerospace engineering courses. No first degree level Naval Architecture, Automotive courses and Material Science and Metallurgy were being offered by Higher Education Institutions within Northern Ireland in 2005/06.
  • In relation to postgraduate masters courses, in 2005/06 there were two Higher Education Institutions providing courses at this level in Electrical and Electronic engineering and one Higher Education Institution providing postgraduate courses in General engineering.
  • In 2005/06, there were 975 first year engineering students in Higher Education across the UK from Northern Ireland, while 735 first year engineering students were studying there, representing a net outflow of 240 students.
  • Based on this analysis engineering related provision in Northern Ireland does not appear to be well developed relative to many other areas of the UK engineering.

Source: Engineering Skills Balance Sheet Reports 2008

For more information on what engineering graduates do go to the EngineeringUK briefing Where do Engineering Graduates Go? (2010).

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Biosciences higher education

  • The most relevant Higher Education subjects are Biological Sciences (with the exception of Sports Science and Psychology), Chemistry, and selected disciplines within Subjects Allied to Medicine;
  • Numbers of First-year Students and Graduations in Bioscience-relevant subjects have generally increased between academic years 2002/03 and 2005/06. However, there are notable exceptions, including reductions in First Year numbers for Genetics (-7% over the three years), Botany, Zoology and Genetics (-25%, -10% and -7%) and ‘Others in Biological Sciences’ (-55% - probably arising partly from re-classifications).
  • Over the same three years, graduations have fallen by 13% in Genetics, 8% in Microbiology, 8% in Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry (as well as 69% in ‘Others in Biological Sciences’ - again, arising partly from re-classifications) and 14% in Chemistry.
  • Since 2004, the number of universities offering courses in biological sciences has gone down. There are 20 fewer Higher Education Institutions offering for Biology-related subjects; 13 fewer offering Microbiology. There are 19 fewer universities offering Chemistry. The decline in provision of Chemistry has triggered action but the situation for biological sciences has not received great attention.
  • Over the last six years, the number of first degrees gained by all students in Biological Sciences has declined by 27% if Sports science and Psychology are excluded from the figures. In Molecular Biology, Biophysics & Biochemistry there is a 6% decline and in Chemistry a 23% decline.
  • About 5% of all the first degrees achieved in 2006 were in the sciences relevant to the bioscience sector.
  • At the level of Postgraduate courses, successful achievement in courses of relevance to Bioscience has grown from 2002/03 till 2005-6
  • Recent years have also seen steady flows of those completing Doctorates in relevant fields, with Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science and Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry leading the list with over 400 PhD achievements each year.
  • The fraction of achievers at each Higher Education level who enter Bioscience work is low or very low.

Sources: Biosciences Skills Sector Agreement Stage 2 2008

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Workforce development in engineering

In England, 65% of employers in the sector provide training for their employees, compared to 59% in all sectors. Only 29% of employers in the sector have a budget for training, which is slightly lower than the 31% England figure.

Automotive establishments spend around £200 per employee on off-the-job training, electronics £250 per employee and aerospace £380 per employee. Aerospace is the only industry in which employees receive more than 3 days of off-the-job training. Scottish establishments are more likely to report that they can manage all training on-the-job.

Technical workforce development, as outlined in SEMTA (2005) Sector Skills Agreement, includes:

  • up-skilling workforce to NVQ/SVQ Levels 2 and 3
  • improving craft supply at Level 3 through up-skilling (by increasing participation in apprenticeships, providing general engineering core development programmes, increasing the recruitment of ethnic minorities and women, plus promoting the industry)
  • meeting the demand for craft and technician development (engineering Technicians) by increasing participation of the workforce in Advanced Apprenticeships
  • improving the supply of technicians at Level 4 (Tech. Eng.) by implementing Higher engineering Apprenticeships
  • providing intelligence on current demand and supply needs.
  • tackling graduate skill deficiencies by increasing the vocational relevance of degree programmes
  • developing a specialist degree programme to meet specific needs
  • encouraging more young licensed aircraft engineers to replace retirees

Source: SEMTA 2006, Spilsbury Research/SEMTA 2004 and SEMTA/EEF 2003

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Barriers to training

Engineering

  • 19% of aerospace, 17% of automotive and 13% of electronics employers were unable to afford staff having time off for training
  • 25% of aerospace, 16% of automotive and electronics employers were too busy or did not have time available
  • Many firms did not have the time to release employees due to production issues
  • 10% of aerospace, 11% of automotive and 8% of electronics employers identified the cost of training locally
  • Prohibitive costs, financial constraints and a lack of funding
  • Certain types of training are difficult to source, specifically basic engineering and type rating training
  • Firms not being able to find suitable local providers

Source: SEMTA 2006

Biosciences

  • The 178 companies covered in the Semta Labour Market Survey report expenditure of almost £11 million per annum on training and 63% of them expected this to increase in the following 12 months.
  • The most popular forms of training are ‘off the job’ training courses; ‘on the job’ training; specialist meetings; international conferences; expert mentoring and employer networks or forums.
  • Almost half of the companies reported that they used day release training.
  • A third of companies report using ‘on-line’ training.
  • Of those sites employing people in different occupations, it is laboratory scientists on average that are most likely to receive training (78%), followed by science related IT occupations (77%).
  • Science managers and process/product design engineers are the groups who are least likely to have received training (all below 60%), along with packers, assemblers and machine operatives.

Source: Biosciences Skills Sector Agreement Stage 2 2008

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Professional registration for engineers

There are three categories of professional registration in the UK for engineers:

  • Chartered Engineer
  • Incorporated Engineer
  • Engineering Technician

The promotion of professional registration within UK engineering is a vital mechanism for maintaining and advancing the status and prestige of UK engineering. Registration is voluntary and it is estimated that there are between 369,000 and 568,000 professional engineers in the UK. Key statistics on professional registrations in engineering include:

  • The total number of Chartered Engineer and Incorporated Engineer registrants has declined from jsut over 200,000 in 1984 to 180,000 in 2006.
  • The numbers of registered chartered engineers and incorporated engineers are declining, despite efforts to encourage registration.
  • There is evidence that numbers of new registrants are rising in mechanical engineering, building services engineering and transport, with process industries and construction generally still strong.
  • The number of registered engineering technicians is increasing.
  • The gender balance of registered engineers and technicians is strongly skewed against female engineer, but the numbers registering in all categories are increasing.
  • In 2008, the proportion of new femaleregistrants was 11.6%.

Source: Engineering UK 2010

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