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Waikato has more capacity for engineering students

23 November 2012

Waikato has more capacity for engineering students

The University of Waikato says it has capacity to take on at least 100 more engineering students in the five programmes it offers.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce announced today that he’d gained 1000 extra places for engineering students at universities and polytechnics next year which he hopes will go some way to address the shortage of engineers in New Zealand.

The University of Waikato has been offering its professional engineering degrees for a decade and Associate Dean Engineering Professor Janis Swan says over that time, student numbers have steadily increased to 350 but the School has capacity for 450. “Waikato has the staff and facilities to cater for substantial increase in student numbers, and perhaps people aren’t aware of the engineering education opportunities available outside the big cities.”

The Waikato degree offers five engineering disciplines – mechanical, software, chemical and biological, materials and process, and electronic, - and are all accredited to IPENZ, the Institute of Professional Engineers.

Engineering and information technology are the two occupations in most demand on the jobs website Seek, and Mr Joyce sees lifting student numbers in those areas as crucial to economic growth.

Currently fewer than 2000 students a year graduate with engineering degrees in New Zealand. IPENZ says that needs to lift to 2750 a year, to achieve an "innovation-led economy" with a chance of catching up to Australian living standards.

“We’re conscious of the demand to produce work-ready graduates,” says Professor Swan. “To that end we’ve developed strong relationships with businesses throughout the Central North Island so all our second and third year students have the opportunity to gain work experience while studying.

“It’s the role of our specialist co-operative unit to find work placements for students – and work experience is usually the best way into a permanent job. Some employers prefer University of Waikato engineering graduates because of the work experience gained during their studies.”

ENDS

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