Companies and Local Authority Take Action on Engineering Shortage
Media Release: 22 July 2014
The Hutt City Council joins engineering companies to provide scholarships for students to study diplomas and degrees in engineering.
“There is an urgent need to address the shortage of engineers regionally and nationally. Here in the Hutt City we have 150 engineering companies, part of a thriving technology sector that makes a significant contribution to the economy. Hutt City Council views investment in young people who wish to study engineering at an advanced level as critical to making sure our innovation-led companies can continue to grow. It is also fantastic to be providing opportunities for our young people to have highly successful careers here in their hometown,” says Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace.
“Research undertaken by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) clearly backs up the current and future skills shortage for tertiary trained engineers,” says the Wellington Institute of Technology’s Chief Executive Linda Sissons.
“Our School of Engineering produces around 50 engineering diploma and degree graduates each year. This is nowhere near enough for the growing requirements of employers particularly in the Hutt Valley and across the Wellington. The major infrastructure projects currently underway and on the horizon involve millions of dollars of investment and require highly skilled engineers. 100% of our 2013 engineering graduates went straight into or back to jobs. Our challenges are to hold onto the students until they graduate and also to let school leavers know that employers need talented young engineers to join their workforce.
“With this investment by the Hutt City Council and employers such as KiwiRail contributing to the cost of a student’s engineering qualification we hope to see more young talented men and women choose engineering as a career. The prospects and opportunities are excellent,” says Linda Sissons.
Michael Kerr is Beca’s Wellington Regional Manager and Chair of the Engineering Advisory Committee at the Wellington Institute of Technology. “The announcement today by Hon Steven Joyce Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister of the new Engineering Education to Employment (E2E) programme really puts the spotlight on engineering bringing the opportunities to the attention of young people and their families.
“The New Zealand engineering job market is highly resource constrained and we need engineering technician and technologist graduates to meet the massive shortfall the industry is facing. A Polytechnic engineering qualification is an absolutely credible way to get into engineering. We know this because we employ graduates of the New Zealand Diploma of Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree.
“Graduates of the School of Engineering have achieved widespread recognition including beating out University PhD candidates to win national awards including the IPENZ Ray Meyer medal for Excellence in Student Design for both 2013 and 2014. With investment by the Hutt City Council, KiwiRail, Fraser Engineering, Beca, Spencer Holmes, Opus and others who support students to study at WelTec we are confident there will be a boost in the number of students pursuing a career in engineering. Increasing the pipeline of people studying engineering is critical to meet the current skills shortage for people with an applied engineering qualification,” says Michael Kerr.
KiwiRail spokesperson Rick Van Barneveld said, “We have operations in the Hutt Valley and across the Wellington region and trained engineers are a necessity for our business. Supporting this initiative through sponsoring four scholarships in 2015 is a fantastic opportunity for KiwiRail as a potential future employer of these prospective engineers.”
The Wellington Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering is the only Engineering School in the Wellington region to provide Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Majors in the very applied Bachelor of Engineering Technology and the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering. A major new investment by the Wellington Institute of Technology of $3M to completely redesign the School of Engineering was announced last month.