IET
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: Educating Tomorrow ' s Engineers
Topic Summary: The impact of Government reforms on 14-19 Education
Created On: 10 July 2013 08:39 AM
Status: Read Only
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 10 July 2013 08:39 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



sunnyboy

Posts: 323
Joined: 12 October 2004

http://www.publications.parlia...t/cmsctech/665/665.pdf

-------------------------
Luciano Bacco
 10 July 2013 04:24 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

The Committee seems on the whole to have understood the issues well, whilst I don't have recent direct experience of the seemingly constant changes in 14-19 education over recent years, the criticism of these seems very fair. For that reason, I was disappointed and confused by last week's announcement reportedhere . Once again the emphasis seemed to be on league tables over and above any real benefit in preparing prospective engineers and technologists

Returning to the report, I picked up on the extract below, which may seem obvious, but for many years the dominant policy assumption seemed to be that all prospective professional engineers got good A levels, went to university for 3-4 years full-time and then sought employment. Perhaps with a gap-year thrown in and only engineering employment if it paid better than some other graduate job (like financial services!). Although some of the costs of this approach were transferred to individuals by way of debts, would it not have been better to maintain the Uk's long tradition of employment alongside part-time education (including at university where appropriate)? Engineers and Technicians developing this way, quickly become productive and able to pay their way as employees. In this context I would see option b) as useful for people perhaps 16-18 preparing to become an apprentice.

22. There are many ways of becoming an engineer. Education for Engineering (E4E)
summarised the different paths to professional engineering:
a) Work-located training, for example Advanced Apprenticeships (an integrated
vocational and work-located learning path);
b) Further Education (FE) college-based vocational education/training (classroom-based
learning, possibly including working experience);
c) University-based education, which may include a "sandwich" work placement and/or
work experience (general or "academic" path);
d) Non-formal and informal learning; and
e) A combination of the above over a working lifetime.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 11 July 2013 11:07 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I am very impressed with this report. One very interesting point I didn't previously know was:
71. Ms Galliers explained that schools were faced with "perverse incentives in the system to advise young people that to stay on in my school sixth form is the right answer". Jim Wade, Principal of the JCB Academy, added:
a really good example of that are league tables. We are now measured on our destinations. If you take my school, last year, of the year 13 students, 50% chose to go into higher apprenticeships. Most of those students had offers at universities, and a significant number had offers at Russell Group universities but have chosen instead higher apprenticeships with organisations like Rolls-Royce, Bentley or JCB itself. In the league tables we will now get a low score of the percentage of students going to university because they won't count. [...] potentially there is a perverse incentive for me to sit down with those students and say, "Oh no, you don't want to do a higher apprenticeship; actually you want to be doing that," because that would look better for us.


Personally I would have liked more emphasis on:
82. [...] EADS UK stated that "companies should be incentivised to take a greater part in working with schools" and that it did not consider that the Government "offer[ed] support or incentives to large employers to be actively involved in promoting STEM projects and believe[d] the Government do not have an awareness of the lengths employers are going to support STEM subjects".

But it was good to see the identification that the quality of schools' careers advice in engineering is a major concern. particularly now that schools have responsibility for this themselves.


In the end the conclusions speak for themselves (as, I suppose, conclusions should!):
99. At first glance, recent educational reforms have the appearance of supporting engineering education, for example the rationalisation of vocational qualifications following the Wolf Review was generally welcomed, the EBac includes a focus on science and maths education and UTCs have met with approval from the engineering community. However, the devil is in the detail and some of the individual effects of such changes could be detrimental to engineering education, for example the recent changes to the Engineering Diploma following the Wolf Review. We consider that the Government's approach towards engineering education in some aspects has not been effective.
100. The Government's stated views on the importance of engineering and manufacturing to the UK are inconsistent with its actions in education policy. The Government has a powerful influence on schools, students and parents through performance and accountability measures and has direct responsibility for ensuring good education for the UK's future engineers. It must use its actions, in the form of policy and incentives, more effectively to promote technical and engineering education.


-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 11 July 2013 12:00 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for gkenyon.
gkenyon

Posts: 4472
Joined: 06 May 2002

I found the decription in 23. interesting:
Consider a technician with the problem of 'how can I make this motor run better?' It is useful if he/she starts with an understanding of the basic parameters that determine how a motor works - the academic knowledge [...]. He or she might thenm assess how these parameters could be varied in the situation at hand and then choose an option.

However, the outcome is likely to be better if he/she also has an appreciation of the practicalities of the tools and test equipment at his/her disposal, how to interpret drawings and data sheets, how to select components from standard ranges, and the likely time and cost of each option. Ideally he/she would also then have the practical skills to carry out some modification. It is this combination of academic
understanding and practical application that delivers efficient solutions.

This might just be because of the particular example chosen, but what I think is missing from the second paragraph after "However," is "regardless of a full appreciation of the academic knowledge,"

I base this on personal experience, and the people I learned from. Knowing "how something works" is not necessarily related, in practical Engineering terms, to "Academic Knowledge". I think we used to call the required parameter "Technical Knowledge".

There are also many cases in Engineering, where either knowledge of how a particular item works is not necessary (e.g. troubleshooting and fault-finding skills can be generic and enable a technically-capable individual to repair machinery and equipment they have never seen before), or, in some cases I've come across, the person's "academic knowledge" has been flawed, but in a particular way such that it doesn't really matter - "centripetal vs centrifugal forces" is one such example, whilst a general appreciation of practicalities of electromagnetic components often functions just as well as a detailed knowledge of electromagentics and particle physics, and wave functions.

There are also situations where the "Academic Knowledge" may well fly in the face of the reality of the situation, and correctly only experience helps here.

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET
 11 July 2013 02:04 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I didn't think this section was very well worded at all (and I'm not sure that they chose a very good example), but I think I understood what they were trying to get over - that the possibly traditional educational view that you either have a practical education or an academic one is dangerous to apply to engineering.

Remembering, of course, that they are trying to convince a Secretary of State for Education who appears to believe that the single most important thing that students should learn at school is a list of names of all the past British Prime Ministers (In the interests of transparancy, I need to declare a slight potential bias here (no, really?): the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP may not be at the head of my list of dinner party guests!)

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 11 July 2013 03:13 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for gkenyon.
gkenyon

Posts: 4472
Joined: 06 May 2002

Andy,

Yes, I agree - with the first paragraph - and wouldn't dare comment on the second!


Overall, I personally can't help feeling that in the Registered Engineer/Technician etc. "echelons" we have moved too far towards the "Acedemic" bent, but wonder whether in that case the actual "Acedemic Study of Engineering" is aimed too much at scientific / mathematical knowledge, and perhaps needs to include some of the elements of Engineering that are harder to define?
Or are these things so hard to pin down, that they are too hard to develop into an Academic Syllabus? The elusive "Magical Engineering Ingredient"?


-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET
 12 July 2013 10:06 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for chrissj91.
chrissj91

Posts: 18
Joined: 26 October 2011

I don't know if anyone else has the same opinion on this as I do, but I've found that ~90% of the things covered within academic courses simply aren't relevant when you come to actually do the job.

My example being, when I applied for the position I'm in now, they took me on while I was completing my HNC (day release) and also a recent full time university graduate. Both to do the same job (PLC programming/SCADA etc) only I had 2+ years (I'm only young in comparison to you more experienced engineers) in the actual job at a previous employer who were will to take the time to train me up along side the job.

End of the story is, he left after 2 weeks because he hadn't a clue as to what he was doing. Not let go, he left and didn't wan't to stick it out.

-------------------------
Christopher Jones

Linked In - http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrissj91
 12 July 2013 11:36 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for gkenyon.
gkenyon

Posts: 4472
Joined: 06 May 2002

Christopher,

Yes, to an extent, I almost certainly agree.

The problem I think comes in how to gain an appreciation of (and if your job takes you there, analyse) the finer points of a component, product or system.

Not that you couldn't pick up a textbook and read about it before you did the analysys (I'm sure a lot of us do that in any case), but if you had a grounding in the theory . . .

I think the assumption is that the "Grads" will move to jobs where they will need more of the "analysis" element, and I base that on the academic requirement element (or equivalent on-the-job experience) for IEng and CEng. Of course this isn't always the case as not everyone coming through the Academic Route seems to have some of the other qualities required to take them where their qualifications should lead, or do't want a "CEng" or "IEng" job.

Hence, I sometimes find myself wondering whether the "Academic Route to Engineering" is somehow flawed ?

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET
 14 July 2013 02:28 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

I'd be rather more cautious here...

I'd certainly advise any graduate that they may not use any of their university knowledge during the first few years of their career. And they are likely to start off in jobs that someone with an HNC (or nothing!) and a few years experience can do much better. This is not because degrees are useless or wrong, it is just part of the rounded training to become an engineer who can not just do what has been done before, but can do something totally new.

There is often a problem that by the time you do find yourself in a position which requires your degree knowledge you find you've forgotten it! I vividly the first time I actually had to use (fairly basic) calculus for some design work, it was about 15 years after I graduated and I really struggled - fortunately just a few years earlier I'd re-bought myself a first year university maths textbook for similar reasons! So there's the conundrum: when we have the detailed technical knowledge we don't know how, why or when to apply it; when we finally understand what needs solving in the real world we've forgotten how to work the maths to solve it.

Whoever can solve that one will have made a major improvement to the world of engineering.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 16 July 2013 04:17 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



MAWilson

Posts: 48
Joined: 22 February 2006

Generally, I must conclude with those above that this is indeed a well written report with good conclusions. Some parts do irk me a little but that's probably for personal reasons. I hate the typical narrative of engineers in overalls working with tools stigma as generally, it's quite good for engineering to get their kit on and go out and inspect/fault find etc so it should not be looked down upon though I understand you don't want to sell the profession as this only. It's also not constructive as a lot of the skills needed in industry are at the technical or intermediate engineering level; I can remember being bathed in hydraulic oil while setting up lasers for controlling an actuated beam...
It's also concerning the level of curriculum change the government is seeking to introduce without proper contemplation of how this is introduced to the pupils. The fact of the matter is if the introduction is poor coupled with the attention span of youth today, we could lose potentially excellent engineers at an early stage. This hits home for me because it took years of encouragement to get my mother's confidence back to further herself due to what I believe was a poor introduction to maths & English in the 60's. She eventually did and I'm quite proud of her achievements.
Thirdly, although work experience is quite good, think at least 3 months is the minimum for providing any useful introduction to a student. I work in a Design Engineering Group and we typically don't get graduates (NB: they typically have a 5 week period in different departments) in our department because it is very difficult to incorporate them into any of our work packs due to their detailed nature and the level of support we can provide given the demands on us. What the government desires is quite good on paper but not sure how it can be carried out in practice.
 19 July 2013 04:03 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: amillar
There is often a problem that by the time you do find yourself in a position which requires your degree knowledge you find you've forgotten it! I vividly the first time I actually had to use (fairly basic) calculus for some design work, it was about 15 years after I graduated and I really struggled - fortunately just a few years earlier I'd re-bought myself a first year university maths textbook for similar reasons! So there's the conundrum: when we have the detailed technical knowledge we don't know how, why or when to apply it; when we finally understand what needs solving in the real world we've forgotten how to work the maths to solve it.


The home education community has been saying similar things for years in that the institutionalised education system was designed in an information poor era on a platform of 'learn this just in case it's useful because you won't have another chance' and hasn't adjusted to an information rich world that where facilities to learn subjects as and when they are required in life are much better. The reality is that people forget what they have learned unless they use the knowledge. This combined with an information rich world makes a nonsense of the 'learn this just in case it's useful' strategy. The problem is that education nowadays is all about acquiring qualifications rather than in acquiring useful knowledge when it is required.

Whoever can solve that one will have made a major improvement to the world of engineering.


EOTAS should be considered in every educational strategy nowadays. For far too long the government and many employers only look at what students learn in institutionalised education and fail to look at what knowledge has been acquired and talents generated outside of schools and universities. Youngsters have access to educational resources on a scale that people of only 20 years ago could dream about but the powers that be haven't really cottoned on to this.
 22 July 2013 09:18 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

A very well made point, perhaps emphasised by the fact that I had to Google the term "EOTAS" which is Education Other Than at School -so I learned something new today!

However as the phrase includes "schools" our investment ought to bring young people to a level of good fundamental ability, within the teacher led environment. Once this fundamental level is achieved, then we should maximise potential based on aptitude. Exams and school league tables have some limited value in driving standards, but would it not be better to develop more rounded individuals, who can pursue their particular talents and interests successfully through life? For most people this isn't just about rote learning of facts and formulas to pass exams.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 23 July 2013 08:18 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jencam

Posts: 608
Joined: 06 May 2007

Originally posted by: roybowdler
However as the phrase includes "schools" our investment ought to bring young people to a level of good fundamental ability, within the teacher led environment. Once this fundamental level is achieved, then we should maximise potential based on aptitude.


What exactly is this good fundamental ability? How many years of a child's life should be devoted to it? What should be the policy for children who manage to achieve the good fundamental ability in a space of time less than that normally allocated?

but would it not be better to develop more rounded individuals, who can pursue their particular talents and interests successfully through life?


I'm unsure how you define more rounded but one of the many reasons why parents choose home education is because they believe that schools are too academic. Home education enables children to pursue their interests and talents as well as learning useful life skills.
 23 July 2013 09:27 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

I'm afraid I don't have any strong interest or very recent experience of school age education, (whatever its timescale) or the merits of home education v school, but I do think that your first point is a very good and valid one.

I have worked with people who left school at 14-16 and became top professionals and people who stayed in full-time education for anther 10 years with little apparent additional benefit

When I recruited school leavers for engineering careers, I used the SHL Technical Test Battery. The predictive validity of these tests was good, especially in combination with evidence of an interest in engineering and a judgement of self discipline, social skills and team working ability. Since the tests are norm referenced, using huge samples over many years "grade inflation" or variability between different institutions (or no institution) is minimised. link

Leaving aside any professional experience I might have, from a "common sense" perspective I would want to see a young person exposed to a wide range of different opportunities to develop interests and test their natural talents. I wouldn't advocate ignoring areas of weakness (such as Maths) which might hamper the individual in future. But identifying interests, aptitudes and motivators is far more likely to lead to someone who loves learning and will pursue it through their career. Relatively few people have the advantage of stable predictable lifetime careers nowadays and some careers (such as sport) will naturally be limited.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 31 July 2013 12:15 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for chrissj91.
chrissj91

Posts: 18
Joined: 26 October 2011

Hot from the press.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23508074

-------------------------
Christopher Jones

Linked In - http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrissj91
 31 July 2013 03:42 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



roybowdler

Posts: 276
Joined: 25 July 2008

Very pleasing - but we have long way to go to establish these good principles over generations!

There were many factors which contributed to the decline in programmes which would now be termed "higher apprenticeships" from the late 1980s onwards. Structural change was a major factor for the sector that I worked in at the time, but I was very fortunate to move to an employer in another sector, with an unbroken apprenticeship tradition dating back to 1803, when the founders began their apprenticeships with their father's employer Boulton & Watt.

As the numbers of full-time undergraduates grew during the 1990s many employers assumed that this pipeline would replace, apprenticeships with an HNC, which had been a main route to becoming an engineer. A minority thought that it would be a mistake to rely only on graduates and chose to continue developing the apprenticeship route. It became quite difficult to recruit more talented young people, who were persuaded that apprenticeships were "only for those of low academic ability" and we had to drop the term apprentice, despite the financial advantages and a national award winning programme. Luckily a few "gems" were still found and are senior professionals and leaders now.

As often happens, adversity drove innovation and we eventually managed to develop a programme for employed productive "student engineers and commercial students" enabling them to gain a degree in four years. Intensive and demanding, but very rewarding for committed participants, with break-even for the company. This wasn't the only example of good practice, with the armed forces for example, maintaining top quality training establishments, but it did prove that a medium size business could deliver excellence through academic partnerships. I see a lot of this model in today's announcement and together with many others of like mind, I welcome it.

This was submitted by the IET 3 years ago

link

A google search brought this up - although the programme was recognised with a National Training Award some years earlier with an HND outcome.

sorry having posted the link it goes to a home page which google had by-passed. google "On the case: Some training examples from the industry's shining stars"

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards

Edited: 01 August 2013 at 03:36 PM by roybowdler
 03 August 2013 04:31 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



danielscott

Posts: 461
Joined: 18 April 2003

I have been retired for a few years now and the company which I worked for is a Global, Engineering, Procurement , Construction and Management firm, which has a Corporate Learning Center, that provides information and help etc., to allow all their staff to advance their careers,whether your a Technician, Technologist or Engineer and have a programme called :

"Learn From Your Experiences and Grow Your Career!"

70:20:10
Three E's of Adult Learning

70% of our learning occurs through EXPERIENCE
20% of our learning occurs through EXPOSURE
10% of our learning occurs through EDUCATION.
Statistics

See Also:



FuseTalk Standard Edition v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.