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Unitec supports push to get students into engineering

Unitec and MIT support Government push to get students into engineering

10th September 2014

For immediate release

Representatives from Unitec and MIT joined the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce, at the Auckland launch of the Engineering - Education to Employment (E2E) initiative at the Well-Connected Alliance in Mt Roskill this morning.

The Government initiative promotes engineering as a career and is part of the ‘Skills for Industry’ goal of the recently released Tertiary Education Strategy which focuses on lifting graduate numbers in areas where there are shortages in the labour market.

The event, which was hosted by the Well-Connected Alliance, the Tertiary Education Commission, Unitec Institute of Technology and Manukau Institute of Technology, brought together careers advisors, teachers, engineering students, graduates, lecturers and key industry players.

The Waterview Connection is one of the most important infrastructure developments ever to take place in New Zealand, bringing together a number of key industry players on one project. At the launch, John Burden from the Well-Connected Alliance spoke about the important role engineers will play in the future success of Auckland.

“Auckland is growing rapidly and yet the number of engineering technologists and technicians graduating annually is less than half of that needed to meet industry’s business-as-usual needs,” he says. “It’s vital that we encourage our young people to see engineering as a viable and rewarding career choice, and this requires more collaboration between industry, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), and schools.”

Being an engineer does not necessarily require a university degree – one of the key messages the Engineering E2E initiative hopes to promote. Companies are facing a real need for engineering technicians and technologists that have studied to diploma or degree level at Institutes of Technology like Unitec and MIT.

“Unitec is committed to working with schools, other ITPs and industry to support the governments drive to encourage more young people into an engineering career,” says Leon Fourie, Executive Dean at Unitec. “We offer a complete pathway from Foundation studies (for students who might not make the entry requirements) right through to Bachelors level and our focus is on preparing our students to hit the ground running in their future workplaces.”

MIT's focus is also on preparing work ready students.

"We are pretty real at MIT, our job is to teach students skills that will get them a job. End of story. So we are constantly in touch with industry and its changing skill requirements so we can deliver to demand", says Trent Lash, Executive Dean of Engineering and Trades.

"It's no secret that right now and for the foreseeable future there are huge opportunities for skilled engineers. The demand is such that graduates are almost guaranteed a job. Now add the digital demand for electronic, software, hardware and network engineers on top of that and the BEngTech degree is a direct pathway to a really great job with the possibility of earning really big money."

Graduate engineers can earn between $40,000 and $60,000 and intermediate level engineers anywhere between $65,000 and $95,000.

Engineering E2E will involve promoting engineering careers to prospective students, greater support for students interested in engineering, more collaboration between ITPs and companies that hire their engineering graduates, and more collaboration between schools and tertiary providers to keep young people engaged in the requisite STEM subjects at school.

The Government is targeting 500 extra engineering graduates per year from 2017.


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