Schools receive engineering specialist status

The
future supply of skilled engineers received a major boost today when the School
Standards Minister, David Miliband MP, confirmed that three schools sponsored
by a consortium of six leading industry bodies have achieved Engineering
Specialist School status.

The
consortium, comprising the EEF (Engineering Employers Federation), EMTA (an
educational and training charity owned by the engineering industry), MTTA (the
Machine Tool Technologies Association), the Engineering Council (UK), the
Engineering Development Trust and the Royal Academy of Engineering have
provided £150,000 of sponsorship to help secure their status.

Speaking
on behalf of the consortium, Martin Temple, EEF’s director general, said:
"We are delighted the hard work of the schools and the consortium has been
recognised by the DfES. It is a good starting point which we are already
building on with another 18 schools expressing interest for sponsorship in
October. This clearly demonstrates the relationship between industry and
education is growing and this will help address future skill needs."

The
schools – Eckington School, Sheffield, Devonport High School for Boys, Plymouth
and Woodchurch High School, Merseyside – were chosen from areas where
engineering skill shortages are especially acute.

As
part of their assessment, they were required to produce a development plan
clearly demonstrating how the school will improve teaching and learning in
engineering covering four academic years, how links with other schools and the
wider community (including industry) will be improved and how other schools and
the surrounding community will benefit.

In
addition, as well as facing significant skills shortages, the increasing move
into higher value products by engineering and manufacturing companies will demand
ever higher skills from the workforce of the future. As such, the sponsorship
of these schools will have the following three aims:


For future modern apprentices, engineering specialist schools should provide an
introduction and some background to the vocational education required, as well
as careers support


For students going on to further education, the GCSE Engineering, which we hope
the schools will offer, should form the basis for studying a vocational A-level
in engineering.


For students who will pursue the general academic route, engineering schools
should offer a full range of science, technology and engineering A-levels, both
academic and vocational for entry onto higher education.

By Ben Willmott

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