Engineering Companies Should Open Non-Graduate Routes
Research highlights need for greater focus on Apprentices and Professional Qualifications
December 2011, London: Over half of engineering jobs advertised require applicants to have a degree to fill the position, with just one per cent highlighting the value of an apprenticeship, according to a recent report.
The Recruiter Requirements Report carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 66 per cent of jobs advertised stipulated a degree as a pre-requisite to be eligible to apply for the position. While degrees are highly valuable for future engineers, the IET is calling on the industry to review its recruitment criteria and to identify and publicise the value of work-based experience gained through apprenticeships and professional qualifications as well.
With the imminent rise in tuition fees, the IET recommends industry recognises the vital need and responsibility to highlight the options available to those considering a career in engineering, but have opted out of the graduate route. Recent statistics from UCAS revealed a 15 per cent decline in university applications from UK-born students for 2012 entry, further demonstrating the need for companies to begin seeking alternative considerations when recruiting qualified engineers to fill vacancies.
"There is still a high demand for skilled engineers and technicians, but companies could do better when it comes to seeking talent,” said Stephanie Fernandes, Policy Advisor at the IET. "Work-based learning is held in great esteem by the industry and companies need to do more to demonstrate the great prospects that come with a career in engineering and to make it known that the graduate route is not only way to achieve this. In our annual Skills & Demand in Industry Survey, 43 per cent of organisations anticipated that they would employ more apprentices in four to five years time. This is positive news and more engineering companies should look to do the same.”
A recent study by the Engineering Council UK showed that 88 per cent of companies in this sector encourage employees to obtain professional qualifications through work-based learning. The IET recommends these companies extend this approach to the recruitment stage.
The IET has been involved in implementing a new flexible pathway to becoming a professional engineer called Engineering Gateways. This route allows people to qualify without being forced to leave employment and so take a large financial risk.
"If this option of obtaining a professional qualification is brought to the forefront, then we are more likely to succeed in achieving the right number of future engineers that the UK requires.