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In order to inform its development of the Engineering Conversion Course Pilot scheme, HEFCE commissioned research to provide it with information of the current engineering landscape. The research, ‘Transition to Engineering’, sought to establish what employers in different sectors and with different characteristics look for in new graduates and in existing employees who are looking to re-skill, to identify priority areas where there is a shortage of graduate level entrants to the profession, and suggest how this need might be met by the development of courses for non-engineering graduates.

The report finds that:

  • There is potential for conversion courses to help meet the engineering knowledge and understanding required for recognition as a professional engineer
  • Most industry sectors would welcome ‘converts’ with qualifications in engineering disciplines that support employment in a range of engineering occupations, such as in electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering
  • Other, more specific, engineering courses could also prove useful to specific sectors and could be suitable for graduates who have a non-engineering first degree. Examples given include agricultural engineering, additive manufacturing and civil engineering
  • Conversion courses should be developed and delivered in partnership with employers. Institutions could work with sectors and employers to identify more specific conversion courses relevant to sectors, employer-groups and regions.

While many examples exist of institutions providing innovative courses and engaging industry, new approaches and flexible delivery models might be required, together with efforts to promote them to employers.

Date: 25 September 2015

Ref: Independent research