There is a compelling economic case for improving the provision of engineering skills through further education (FE), Philip Greenish, Chief Executive, told a meeting of the Foundation for Science and Technology in London last week.

The Skills Minister, John Hayes MP, and Principal of Walsall College, Amarjit Basi, were also on the platform to address the question Can Further Education Colleges deliver the skilled people the economy needs?

Philip Greenish presented some of the key findings from a survey of science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) FE qualifications that the Academy had recently undertaken for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. With over 9,000 STEM qualifications on offer in England by over 5,000 providers, there is an evidently confusing landscape for students and parents alike, who need better support and information to inform choice. The careers service in schools needs to be more responsive to national and local provision.

“The level and quality of many of the qualifications is not what employers need,” Mr Greenish said. “There should be a greater focus on high-quality, long-duration higher level qualifications of value to be delivered by a high-quality teaching workforce,” he said. “And we must ensure that the FE sector maintains its inclusivity, offering opportunities for progression at all stages of life.”

The report, audio files and presentations from the Foundation debate on "Can the further education system deliver the skilled people the economy needs?" held on 2nd March at The Royal Society have been posted on the Foundation web site -

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.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636; email: Jane Sutton