Engineering apprenticeships twice as popular as degrees

Thursday 6 March 2014

More than double the number of young people are choosing engineering apprenticeships as degree courses, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed.

Figures from the Skills Funding Agency show that in 2012/13, 66,410 young people started an apprenticeship in engineering and manufacturing technologies, more than double the 27,155 young people accepted onto engineering higher education courses in 2013, according to UCAS figures.  Overall, in 2012/13, there were 510,200 apprenticeship starts compared to 495,595 accepted places for degree courses in 2013.

Michelle Richmond, IET Membership Director, and a former apprentice, said: “With a university degree costing £27,000 in fees alone and with no guarantee of a job at the end of the course, apprenticeships are more popular than ever with young people.

“Engineering, which is fundamental to a healthy economy, is one of few professions where there is a range of entry routes for young people to start their journey to becoming a well-respected professional engineer. And with the recent Government Trailblazer initiative, led by the IET and other industry leaders to introduce new standards to make sure apprenticeships meet employer needs, we can only expect apprenticeships to go from strength to strength.”

Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems Group Managing Director, Programmes & Support, said: “Apprenticeship programmes create a pipeline of exceptionally talented young engineers. In tough economic times it is even more important that businesses plan for the long term and continue to invest in skills and developing talent in the workplace.”

Lydia Feasey, the IET Apprentice of the Year 2013, has just completed her apprenticeship at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. She took the apprenticeship route after completing her A Levels. Lydia said: “The best thing about an apprenticeship is that you can gain experience that you can use in your future career, as well as continue your education at college or university and earn money whilst you're doing it.”

“I find that as long as you are willing to learn people always find the time to teach you what they know and pass on their knowledge. The only downside is that you are at work every day while your friends may be off having fun at university. But the experience you’re gaining more than makes up for this.”

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