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University seeks to address civil engineering education shortfall

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10 September 2013

A shortage of higher level education for civil engineers in North Wales is limiting economic growth and jobs in the region, a meeting led by the industry’s professional body has concluded.

Employers and representatives met at Glyndŵr University with the Institution of Civil Engineers, including its current president Barry Clarke, to discuss the value of civil engineering education in North Wales.

Top of the agenda was the lack of university degree courses - and specifically, how this is causing employers to send employees to England to get them fully qualified and ultimately the resulting loss of civil engineering talent across the border.

Glyndŵr University will now work with further education providers and employers to address the issue and meet the needs of the industry.

Keith Jones, director for ICE Wales Cymru, said: “We’re happy with what’s on offer at further education but we need to invest more in higher levels. We need accredited Bachelors and Masters degrees.

"The Welsh Government demand is for growth and jobs in Wales and that’s what this meeting, and future developments, is all about - growing people in Wales and keeping them here.”

As part of efforts to push the take-up of careers in science, engineering, technology and maths, a schools engineering team challenge also took place on the same day as the ICE visit.

Activities undertaken by groups from Rhyl High School and Dinas Bran, Llangollen, included building a retractable stadium roof using a K'NEX model and a bridge-building challenge.

Professor Richard Day, academic head of engineering at Glyndŵr University, said: “Glyndŵr University is committed to supporting the economic development of North Wales so we very much welcome the positive discussions we had about progressing and expanding higher education civil engineering provision in the region.”

Ian Binning, a chartered engineer who has worked on the Wylfa power station and at Shell oil refinery during a 45-year career, now works as a volunteer for the Engineering Centre for North and Mid Wales, who helped out with the schools challenge.

He said: “Events like this are really useful for young people as they help to develop team work, initiative and communication skills – as well as an interest in engineering and science, of course.

“For the last 25 years we have focused our efforts to encourage students to take up careers in science and engineering at post-16 level but this is too late.

"Most students have chosen their career pathway by then, which is why we’re working much more closely with younger age groups now.”

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