The UK is crying out for technology and science graduates - Getting Into University - Student - The Independent

The UK is crying out for technology and science graduates

 

According to the recent Engineering UK 2012 report the UK is going to need a few more workers with skills in science, engineering and technology over the next five to 10 years. Some two million more, in fact, based on estimates from industry skills councils, which suggests now might be a good time to consider enrolling for a science, engineering or technology (SET) degree.

Stephanie Fernandes, education policy adviser for The Institution of Engineering and Technology, explains that the demand is global. “SET graduates are needed to tackle challenges including climate change, global health, food security, biodiversity, water security and energy security.”

This is good news for those hoping to move into related fields, but also for those who want to take the skills learned on a SET programme and put them to use elsewhere. “It is critical that the sector attracts more science, engineering and technology graduates, as many will be Britain’s future scientific and technological leaders, while others will clearly be leaders in other fields,” says Fernandes. The reason for this is that SET subjects give students a wide base of abilities.

“If you do a SET course you’ll have a broad grasp of skills that will be helpful for working in business,” says Professor Jim Roach, dean of the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University. Graduates will be both numerate and analytical, he says, “which sets you on the right road towards a lot of different things”.

Prospective students will find plenty of subject choice under the umbrella of science, engineering and technology courses. Programmes embrace everything from product design and automotive engineering to more theoretical realms such as physics. These courses have obvious appeal to those who are attracted by intellectual rigour, says Dr Mark Richards, senior teaching fellow at Imperial College London. “A physics degree is a conceptually challenging course. It will certainly stretch you intellectually.”

Courses like physics also have practical value in industry and beyond, he adds. “The skills you gain – report writing, analysis, presenting technical material – are required throughout society. Physics in a nutshell is about problem solving, and where in the world do you not have problems?”

Problem-based learning forms a part of many SET courses. Lectures and tutorial work in small groups are other key elements, while hands-on experience in labs or workshops is also useful, says Roach: “It’s important to have a practical base.”

At some institutions this is further emphasised through placement schemes, which give students a chance to work for a year putting their skills to use in the workplace before returning to complete their studies. Roach says: “When students come back they really see the benefits, and they’re much more mature.”

While the employment prospects and starting salaries for SET graduates are generally good, there’s still the matter of paying for university. A good wage on graduation will help with loan repayments but not with living costs, cautions Richards. “Of course, tuition fees are high, but the key thing for students is often how to survive once you’re here; we offer schemes that will help with living expenses while you’re studying.”

Different institutions will have different ways of helping students. ICL has a financial support package, while Bournemouth offers some 300 scholarships to students across all courses (some funded by the government and some by the EU). As ever, the best advice is to speak directly to universities to see what they offer. “We want to reach out to as many able students as possible,” says Richards.

After university the skills graduates acquire make them attractive to a range of employers. “There are many benefits that someone with a background in science, technology and engineering can bring to business management,” says Donna Miller, European human resources director for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “We are looking for evidence of leadership, of working as part of a team, of entrepreneurship as well as a willingness to serve and help others. Science and technology degrees often develop all of these skills.”

Richards also notes that, for physics grads, opportunities arise in intriguing areas such as the design of physics engines for computer games. Roach adds that Bournemouth graduates go onto work for major technology companies, engineering firms or start their own businesses. “We’re a creative nation and we need creative minds,” he says. “SET is the future.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

PE Teacher (Female)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Teacher of Girls PE for Wiltshire scho...

KS1 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Primary Supply Teacher's Urgently Required in Hull and Grimsby

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for KS1 & KS2...

Internal Communications Advisor

£23000 - £25000 per annum + Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Internal Communications...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week