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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited
Warning over shortage of engineers and scientists
Warning over shortage of engineers and scientistsKeywords: Engineers, Scientists, Skills shortages
A critical shortage of skilled engineers and scientists in the UK could harm the country's competitive potential and quality of life. This is the key issue behind a consultation paper which follows preliminary discussions between an independent review body, chaired by Sir Gareth Roberts, and a working party of engineers, chaired by Professor Adrain Long. Professor Long, Institution of Civil Engineers vice-president, commented: "Engineering skills and their provision are essential for the continued development of Britain's competitiveness in a global market. This consultation paper provides those in business, education and other interested parties with an opportunity to shape the Government's science and engineering education policy for the future – a need which universities and engineering institutions are actively considering and must respond to."
Key areas discussed by the engineering working party and outlined in the consultation paper include: the range of skills acquired by top engineers at degree level and above; how these skills correlate to business; whether businesses effectively communicate their needs to higher education and how well the education system is able to respond; and student motivation and incentives at all levels, including secondary school, undergraduate and postgraduate. This closely corresponds to issues raised in the Institution of Civil Engineers' manifesto, "Agenda for the Future", which points out that, since 1994, applications for civil-engineering courses have fallen by 40 percent and the railway industry alone requires a further 1,000 engineers to deliver its investment programme.