Fears rise over shortage of technical skills

Fears
of an imminent shortage of qualified professionals are growing after a survey
revealed even more students are turning away from subjects such as engineering
and IT in favour of media studies.

Research
by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service showed that applications
for electric engineering and IT dropped by more than one in 10, while media
studies and journalism saw a record 15.3 per cent increase in 2003.

The
Engineering Employers Federation has called for legislation on top-up fees to
be used to stimulate demand by offering cheaper courses.

However,
government plans to get more students into medicine and caring programmes seem
to be working, with nursing numbers growing by 15.2 per cent, and medicine and
related courses rising by 10 – 11 per cent.

By Michael Millar

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