The Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the UK, welcomes the Government’s strong, positive support today (24 July) for the new 14-19 Diplomas as the Secretary of State visits London South Bank University.

Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Engineering Programmes at The Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “Skills acquisition is a good thing for children. Research evidence tells us that science, technology, engineering and maths skills are particularly valuable in terms of improved life chances for young people. The engineering diploma provides a simple pathway for the acquisition of STEM skills and will enable more people to get great jobs in engineering.”

“There are tremendous engineering employment opportunities in London but so far young people in South London have not been taking them up” he says. “Ten billion pounds worth of infrastructure renewals are underway on the Tube and similar sums are being spent on water and sewerage renewals and repairs to our electricity infrastructure – even without all the preparation for the 2012 Olympics. These are long-term projects rolling out over the next decade. It’s vital that our children are part of this, shaping the London of the future.”

The diploma sets a route map for young people, starting at age 14, which is particularly valuable for children from families where there is no experience of training for higher skills. Therefore the Academy expects the Engineering Diploma to have the effect of widening participation, bringing new people into the profession.

“The Royal Academy of Engineering has been fostering further education and skills in engineering for a generation so it is only natural that we would be involved in this revolution in 14-19 education” says Matthew Harrison. “The Academy is really good at forming effective partnerships – in this case between schools, FE colleges, universities, sector skills councils and employers. This is not just a new curriculum bringing engineering into schools, often for the first time, but in Southwark and Lambeth we have achieved a new way of promoting learning – where students not only learn in school but often in FE colleges and sometimes in universities. We think this is a compelling choice for children and their families.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The Academy has been working in Southwark and Lambeth schools since 2005 leading the London Engineering Project, a pilot version of the National Engineering Programme, which will work in selected neighbourhoods that have low participation rates in higher education in order to widen participation. It targets groups that are currently under-represented in engineering higher education: women, minority ethnic students, students from families where there is no experience of higher education and adult learners.
  3. Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Engineering Programmes at the Royal Academy of Engineering, is also Chair of the Southwark and Lambeth Diploma Partnership of seven schools, two FE colleges, London South Bank University, the local Education Business Partnership, The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Teaching Enhancement (TEP).

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering