Yesterday, an new initiative to encourage enrolments into engineering qualifications at polytechnics was launched by Steven Joyce, a move welcomed across the polytechnic and industry sectors. Graduates of the three year Bachelor of Engineering Technology and the two year New Zealand Diploma of Engineering are in demand in industry – according to the National Engineering Education Plan produced in 2010 by IPENZ, the national body for engineers in New Zealand, we need to double the number of graduates completing these qualifications, however, over the past few years there has been little growth in the number of graduates in these qualifications.
One reason for the lower than desirable numbers of graduates in these programmes is the limited understanding of what engineering involves, and the perception that all engineering occurs at universities as a four year Bachelor of Engineering programme which only accepts the academic elite. Hopefully the new Engineering E2E (Education to Employment) initiative will address this misperception allowing students with solid mathematics skills and an aptitude for engineering to pursue a satisfying career in engineering.*
Polytechnic engineering qualifications provide a number of advantages compared to university engineering degrees. More flexible delivery allows students to study part-time and also to enter study mid-year. Classes tend to be smaller than those at universities and study focuses on the practical applications of engineering.
The launch of the Engineering E2E initiative promises to highlight the need for more engineering graduates in New Zealand and to support more students to consider engineering as a career.
* A basic comparison of the different engineering qualifications can be found on the IPENZ website.