Engineering students and lecturers think the UK is lagging behind the rest of the world, a poll has shown. Further there is a need for more chemical engineers as they can help solve global issues such as energy, environment, food and water.
LONDON, UK: Engineering students and lecturers think the UK is lagging behind the rest of the world, a poll has shown. The Young Minds Monitor report was compiled by the international energy company General Electric (GE) and recorded opinions from departments throughout the UK. It showed that lecturers view the US, China, Germany and India as the best places in the world for an engineer to improve their career prospects. Only 31 per cent of them viewed the UK as being up to scratch. When asked to rate their country’s academic standards, however, lecturers (perhaps unsurprisingly) reported, in an overwhelming majority, that they were as good as or better than elsewhere.
Almost 60 per cent of young engineers view the sector as critical to the economy, and 92 per cent think it has a better image than its scientific stablemates. A similar amount are confident of finding a job after graduation, but more than half of the academics polled think that the UK’s talent pool is shrinking.
Mark Elborne, president and ceo of GE in the UK, called engineering “The lifeblood of the UK economy.”
“There is a new generation of young people choosing engineering as a career,” he said, “Mainly because of the impact they can have on society. These figures demonstrate that both business and government need to continue to support and invest in this new generation, to ensure we nurture and retain such talent.”
The current and future status of chemical and process engineering was also reflected in the survey, with mixed results. One question polled the students’ top ten engineering heroes, with not a single chemical engineer making the cut. Elsewhere, however, they said that the areas they viewed as the biggest challenges were in dire need of the discipline.
Andy Furlong, IChemE’s director of communications, said: “The absence of any identifiable chemical or process engineer from the ‘heroes’ list reinforces the notion that we are the Cinderella profession.”
“Yet the top global challenges are energy, environment, food and water – none of which are going to be fixed in a hurry without chemical engineers. It’s time for chemical engineers to stand up and be counted.”
(C) IChemE News
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