Engineers join forces to launch education drive

The
engineering industry is to spend £150,000 at three state schools in an effort
to fight the sector’s skill shortage.

The
project is being funded by a consortium led by the Engineering Employers’
Federation (EEF), and will see the three schools awarded a specialist
engineering status in September.

Once
a school has raised £50,000 in sponsorship, it can become ‘specialist’ and will
be entitled to £100,000 from the Government, plus £123 per pupil for up to four
years.

The
government aims to have 1,500 specialist schools by 2005. The schools still
teach the full curriculum, but students can also specialise.

The
EEF said its sponsorship aims to boost uptake of the Modern Apprentices scheme,
establish GCSE Engineering courses at the schools, and provide a base for
academic engineering study.

Ann
Bailey, EEF head of education and skills, said: “Engineering specialist schools
have the potential to provide innovative teaching approaches to subjects
related to engineering. This is vital in providing all students with an
understanding of the role engineering has to play in ensuring competitiveness
and productivity in the UK.”

Other
members of the consortium funding the project are: the National Training
Organisation for Engineering and Manufacture, the Machine Tool Technologies
Association, the Engineering Council, the Engineering Development Trust and the
Royal Academy of Engineering.

The
three schools – Eckington School in Sheffield, Devonport High School for Boys
in Plymouth, and Woodchurch High School in Merseyside – were chosen as they are
in areas where there is a serious engineering skill shortage.

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