Engineering Diplomas

Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th June 2008.

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Photo of Joan Ryan Joan Ryan Prime Minister's Special Representative to Cyprus, Vice-Chair, Labour Party 10:30 am, 26th June 2008

How many higher education institutions have indicated they will accept the new engineering diploma for admissions purposes.

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Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

The first advanced diplomas will be awarded in 2010. Entry requirements for specific courses will not be available until March 2009, so it is not possible at this stage to indicate how many institutions will accept diplomas for entry to their courses. However, UCAS is collecting statements covering the general acceptability of diplomas that are available on the UCAS website. Almost 150 higher education institutions have made statements, the vast majority of which are very positive about acceptances on to higher education courses.

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Photo of Joan Ryan Joan Ryan Prime Minister's Special Representative to Cyprus, Vice-Chair, Labour Party

I thank my hon. Friend for that very encouraging answer. He will know of my constituency's proud tradition of engineering. Employers say to me that part of the problem with young people's approach to engineering is that they do not know what it is to be a modern engineer. Their view of engineering is stuck in the past. They also do not understand the route to engineering. What measures is my hon. Friend putting in place to ensure that when the higher education institutions want to accept those qualifications and offer pathways into engineering young people are aware of it as an option and to ensure that they take it?

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Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education), Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

I agree with my right hon. Friend. Whenever I talk to engineering employers I find that they are keen to work with the Government and the funding agencies to present a modern, up-to-date image of engineering that entices young people to take on those courses. We can do that in a number of ways, but one of the most effective is to point out to young people the higher graduate earnings premium from undertaking a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree compared with that from a non-STEM degree. We certainly need to do more of that, but I believe that the diplomas, which target young people at the age of 14 who have talent and potential but are switched off by an exclusively academic route to educational success, can help us to make progress.

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