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Topic Title: Who Wants to be an Engineer?
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Created On: 29 August 2013 04:38 PM
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 29 August 2013 04:38 PM
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supe

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Who wants to come out of University £40k in debt to a £20k/annum career? Until it is a legal requirement for professional engineers to be chartered in order to approve engineering drawings & software then there isn't any big incentive for engineers to go through the labourious process to become chartered in the first place. I did it when I was in my mid 30s only after my manger did it when he was 40.
 29 August 2013 06:50 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: supe
Who wants to come out of University £40k in debt to a £20k/annum career? Until it is a legal requirement for professional engineers to be chartered in order to approve engineering drawings & software then there isn't any big incentive for engineers to go through the labourious process to become chartered in the first place. I did it when I was in my mid 30s only after my manger did it when he was 40.

You do not need to go to university to become an engineer or to become chartered and so that is a personal choice. With regards to having a legal requirement to approve drawings you do not need a qualification to approve laws. It could just as easy require a level 3 qualification to approve drawings and so do not be expecting any change in the law anytime soon. I think the £40k debt is something which could be debated and argued either way but in the end someone has to pay and whether that is the student or the tax payer seems to have already been decided. The debt is structured in a reasonable way and is not the same as say a mortgage in that if you earn less than a certain amount but still fail to pay it you lose your home. Students have the choice up front and so if they do not want the study/debt then they can choose another career option, they are free to do so.

Regards.
 29 August 2013 07:08 PM
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OMS

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You do not need to go to university to become an engineer or to become chartered and so that is a personal choice.


I think most would not find the route to engineer or to being chartered easy to find in reality, without a university degree.

For the vast majority of mainstream engineering jobs, a spell at university is pretty much essential - either at the start or perhaps part way through if you start in a less than classical fashion - one way or another, you are probably going to have to go there.

As for the rest - well it won't happen and no one holds a gun to anyones head over career choice.

Personally speaking, engineering has kept a roof over my head and food on the table - it was my choice.

Regards

OMS

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 29 August 2013 07:55 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: OMS
I think most would not find the route to engineer or to being chartered easy to find in reality, without a university degree.

I agree that if we want to be a CEng or else a top flight engineer then a degree is an important requirement.

Regards.
 30 August 2013 12:21 AM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: westonpa
I agree that if we want to be a CEng or else a top flight engineer then a degree is an important requirement.
But even so the intial question remains - is it worth the cost of the 4-year degree as it is (and is charged for) today?

We have 2 kids still at primary school - we are often left wondering precisely how to advise them (Engineering or otherwise): degree, or leave as soon as you can and just work damn hard? Quite often, it leans to the latter!

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 30 August 2013 09:02 PM
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kengreen

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there is a somewhat trite expression "you cannot keep a good man down"; if you have what it takes combined with integrity and honesty then there is no true reason why you cannot work your way up to the top floor. True that is easier to say than to do but it has never been ordained that life should be either easy or fair. It is to be regretted that the modern practice of the "granny state" has engendered the reverse belief. To speak from my own experience there is an attitude amongst university graduates that the world OWES them a living; disappointment can be their only fate.

Ken Green
 31 August 2013 12:04 AM
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ectophile

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If you're only earning £20k per year, then you never have to pay off the student loan anyway. http://www.moneysavingexpert.c...s-tuition-fees-changes

That said, if you've got an engineering degree, then you should be getting paid rather more than that once you've got a few years' experience.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 31 August 2013 08:41 AM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: kengreen
there is a somewhat trite expression "you cannot keep a good man down"; if you have what it takes combined with integrity and honesty then there is no true reason why you cannot work your way up to the top floor.

I agree Ken.
True that is easier to say than to do but it has never been ordained that life should be either easy or fair. It is to be regretted that the modern practice of the "granny state" has engendered the reverse belief.

It's goes wider than that in reality. Whether or not you have qualifications or are Black, White, Green, Male, Female, Older, Younger, live in London, live in Coventry, etc., when you apply for a job you are in competition with others who also apply. It was this way before qualifications. If your competition has an OND, HNC, degree and you do not then they already have an advantage and therefore you need something to compete. ok so what we do not need this in the UK.....but wait a minute because China, India, Germany, USA, Brazil, Cuba, etc., are also educating more and more of their young people to the same level. You are correct you can work your way up from the bottom but you still have to do that with an OND, HNC, degree, because as of yet I have not, for example, seen a 21 year old with a degree go straight into a company such as Siemens as a senior manager or else the CEO. If you are in competition for jobs then you chose how you wish to compete and if you do well then great but if you get stuck at the bottom whilst the graduate gets the better job then avoid the complaining, nobody gave them their qualification for free.
To speak from my own experience there is an attitude amongst university graduates that the world OWES them a living; disappointment can be their only fate.

I know 10's of people with no post school qualifications who think the world owes them a living. I know several, on benefits, who think the same. Equally I know people in all those catagories who either work hard or who are prepared to work hard to earn their living. The degree holder started that when they worked hard to earn their degree, and they even aquired a lot of debt to do it. If governments imply that young people should go get a degree and then they will earn a better living etc., then why should young people not then have that expectation, after all they are young, they seek guidance and the government and schools gave it. If we give young people a message then let's not blame them when they then get expecations in relation to it.

Regards.
 31 August 2013 09:18 AM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: gkenyon
But even so the intial question remains - is it worth the cost of the 4-year degree as it is (and is charged for) today?

And yet you got married and had children, how much has all of that cost you in life and was it worth it? You had a choice because you could have stayed single, no one twisted your arm. My thinking is that part of your thinking related to love, life, family, friendship and how you wanted to spend your time. Going to university is not just about gaining a degree, it is also about occupying a part of your young life and in an environment with like minded people who want to learn at a higher level. What is the real value of that part of your life? It could be that it stands you in good stead for the remainder of your life and gives you a time to look back on when you are older and have made your $'s. It could be you meet new friends who go with you through your life, how much are they worth? At the same time you get to study an area that interests you and gain knowledge and competencies and a qualification that improves your chances of having a better career. It does not gurantee it but then there are no real guarantees with regards to our career other than that there will be a start, middle and end. But the other thing a degree does and which most people forget is it gives you more choices in life. A person with a degree can apply for the job on the till at Tesco and for the graduate job, the person with no degree can only apply for the job on the till. When overall you earn more money you have more choice about where you live and what you eat and what you wear and what you drive and where you take your vacation. When you have a degree you have more choice to go work abroad as an engineer.

If a young person has the opportunity to get a decent job with an employer and which offers a good training and development package then that is also a very good option and should be seriously considered. So is the cost of a degree worth it? In reality I think that is an evaluation to be made over a lifetime and depending on what you make of the qualification you have.

We have 2 kids still at primary school - we are often left wondering precisely how to advise them (Engineering or otherwise): degree, or leave as soon as you can and just work damn hard? Quite often, it leans to the latter!


I advised my son go get your degree and enjoy the time doing it. He took my advice completed two years and got his HND and then after 2 weeks a job in his area on a good salary. He did that for 2 years and is now going back to undertake his 3rd year, of his own choice. The daughter has tried the work aspect for a few years and I am now advising her to study at University because it will deliver real value to her life both now and overall. If she signs up to a degree then after one year she can take a CertHe and after 2 years a DipHe and after 3 years a degree so it is not just about a 3 year program. So I have advised her near the end of each year take a look at the economy and jobs market and evaluate if at that point the relevant qualification will gain her the type of job she would like and then make a decision. If my children were clearly not academic then I would have advised them to follow a different path. I have spent a fortune on my education and in monetry terms I am running at a loss but in life terms my profit off the chart. Today a person can leave and work hard and see how it goes and then study later on or they can go straight into study and evaluate their situation at the end of each year. There are lots of different options available and the mistake is to get into some fixed idea that you just have to study for a degree and from 18 onwards and that there is no other option. If you are not sure take a more flexible option and re evaluate as you go along.

Regards.
 31 August 2013 03:53 PM
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davidwalker2

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I understand the dilemma of advising your children on their career path. I have two daughters, and what to advise them was something my wife and I debated at length. My younger daughter was always interested in how things worked, and mended her own car. She chose to go to university to read Chemistry. Now in her 40's, she lives in New Zealand and runs her own successful accounting business. She is still very practical but her only interest in engineering is to use I.T. as a tool.

My elder daughter did not have much interest in things practical, left school at 16 and did clerical work which happened to be at the BBC. She was fortunate to get on to a two week taster course in broadcast operations and from that time there was no holding back. Now in her late 40's she is a broadcast Resource Manager and I struggle to keep up with the technology she deals with daily.

My point is, no matter how you advise them they will find their own way in life and be successful at what they enjoy doing, and I suspect that applies to the majority of people on this forum.

To be a registered engineer you need not only to know what to do but also to understand and develop the underlying theory. The easy way to do this is to get a degree. You can do without, but gaining the understanding and theory takes experience, tenacity, a bit of luck, but most of all, time.

David
 10 September 2013 06:24 PM
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philipwu

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If I advice to my kids for area to study, I will tell them to follow their interests. University is to teach you the fundamental knowledge and the way to learn. I know a lot of people their career is not relate to what they did in the University. I know few persons who did BA but turn out as Chartered Engineer, and have friends who did Engineering turn out working in Finance sector. For myself, I am lucky to be Chartered Engineer, as it helps me to change my field from Manufacturing Industry to Construction Industry in building services engineering field. I believe one of the reasons my employer hired me is because my Chartered status, I was told there were few candidates completing the job and all of them are building services engineering background, but I am the only one has Chartered Engineer status.

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Philip Wu<BR>CEng MIET; CQP MCQI
 11 September 2013 12:43 PM
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CelticHeathen

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As a Scot, I am delighted that our government has used our limited budget wisely and abolished tuition fees altogether, although what I am objecting to is not fees per se, it is the fact that while the COST of a University education has risen exponentially in the last 15yrs, the VALUE of a degree has decreased by the same magnitude.

The out-of-touch politicians (every MP of whom benefitted from FREE education, lest we forget!) maintain that graduates earn 100K more over their careers than non-degree holders, but that figure has been extrapolated from THEIR generation, at a time when only around 10% of the population went to University. Now, with around 40% going, well.... do the bloody maths, people!

To those above who defend/condone the false economy, it's easy to say that the repayments are "fair" but the debts don't just go away if the graduate earns below a threshold ad infinitum, they are simply transferred and it is the next generation who will suffer.

In short, the post-1998 generation were over-promised and over-burdened with unsustainable debts, most of which will never be paid back, all because of a cynical ploy by New Labour and successors to keep young Brits off the dole for another 3yrs, while they are replaced in the job market by cheap foreign labour and entering into debt slavery at the hands of international bankers.
 11 September 2013 03:25 PM
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westonpa

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The problem is however that there is not a lot to seperate the political parties and in essence they have all been promising everything to people over the last 60 years on a basis you can have it today and pay for it in the future. Greece is a prime example and where the promises were even wilder. Yet the people voted in these politicians. But the same politicians then go onto some other gravy train after, be that lordships and/or else some high paid job in a company associated with public sector work etc. Failure or poor service is rewarded or else not sanctioned.

The education mistake was to mislead most of the young people they should have a degree in order to get a good job, because in reality also the NVQ skilled, low skilled and non skilled workers are vital for the economy.....and should be fairly paid for their work and given due respect. I think also a whole lot of really poor careers advice was/is given at schools and by those with a vested interest in keeping as many children as possible in the education system to maintain their own jobs.

At lot of the University costs nowadays likely goes to covering the pensions, albeit I am not saying people are not worth it.

Regards.
 15 September 2013 12:18 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: gkenyon
But even so the intial question remains - is it worth the cost of the 4-year degree as it is (and is charged for) today?


That is the nub of the matter. Paid for education should been seen as an investment and if the degree is unlikely to pay for itself then it isn't an investment but an expensive hobby. The student would be better off investing money elsewhere or putting it towards a deposit on a house.

We have 2 kids still at primary school - we are often left wondering precisely how to advise them (Engineering or otherwise): degree, or leave as soon as you can and just work damn hard? Quite often, it leans to the latter!


Hard work is misleading. Millions of people both in Britain and abroad work damn hard and have little to show for their efforts. At the same time numerous people with few qualifications make tons of money from easy going jobs.

Leave as soon as you can means today because school is not compulsory.

Originally posted by: westonpa
The education mistake was to mislead most of the young people they should have a degree in order to get a good job, because in reality also the NVQ skilled, low skilled and non skilled workers are vital for the economy.....and should be fairly paid for their work and given due respect. I think also a whole lot of really poor careers advice was/is given at schools and by those with a vested interest in keeping as many children as possible in the education system to maintain their own jobs.


Does the rise in the number of graduates in arts and soft subjects devalue degrees in professional subjects and hard sciences? Graduates in different subjects are not generally interchangeable in the job market but they often end up all being tarred with the same brush. Recently stuff has been written about graduates having to spend a few years in menial jobs before they find a job related to their degree. If the only available degree courses were professional subjects and the numbers graduating were the same as those graduating in these subjects today then would people be saying the same thing?
 15 September 2013 12:47 PM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: jencam

that is the nub of the matter. Paid for education should been seen as an investment and if the degree is unlikely to pay for itself then it isn't an investment but an expensive hobby. The student would be better off investing money elsewhere or putting it towards a deposit on a house.



If you define investment in purely monetary terms then this statement is utterly wrong and utterly misguided.

Education, in all its forms, enriches society. Educated societies are cleaner, healthier, safer and more at ease with themselves and others.

You have to define 'paying for itself' in the wider context of the impact of a highly educated society versus a poorly educated society (and the problems that go with a poorly educated society).

What a sterile narrow-minded society we would live in if the only available options at higher education were "professional" subjects. The spirit recoils.
 15 September 2013 01:10 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: Zuiko
If you define investment in purely monetary terms then this statement is utterly wrong and utterly misguided.

Education, in all its forms, enriches society. Educated societies are cleaner, healthier, safer and more at ease with themselves and others.

You have to define 'paying for itself' in the wider context of the impact of a highly educated society versus a poorly educated society (and the problems that go with a poorly educated society).


You don't have to attend an institution for education. There are plenty of high quality educational resources available on the internet, at Amazon, or in the real world. Far too many people still go round thinking that education is only education if it is institutionalised. IMO they are the sterile narrow-minded individuals.

I was very impressed with the person who made computers available to children in villages in India for educational purposes and how effectively the children learned from them. Sadly there are still people who believe that effective education can only be achieved in such locations by schools run along the same lines as those in the west during the 20th century.
 15 September 2013 01:38 PM
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Zuiko

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You don't have to attend university for an education? It depends on what education you are after. Want to be a doctor? You must go to university.

Maybe doctors can be trained on the internet and books from Amazon.

Not that long ago, in this country, "institutionalised" education was seen as unsuitable for girls. The same attitude is commonplace around the world right now. Girls are killed trying to get to school. You may be impressed by the education of a limited number of students in India compared to "the west" (what a lazy phrase that is). Have you lived and worked in the developing or third world?

I have (in Uganda). The populace is a product of what happens when formal education is limited to those that can pay for it, or from charities and benefactors providing equipment for the lucky few.




I find the premise that "institutionalised" education must be a monetary investment utterly abhorrent and against all the basic principles of what education is for.

My objection is to your statement, "Paid for education should been seen as an investment".

I take it you meant monetary investment because you go on to say that the investment would be better elsewhere (mortgages for example). Just what Britain needs more of, uneducated slaving to the bank.


God help us all in this country if formal higher education is limited to "professional" subjects.


Lord Henry's quote, "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing" springs to mind.

Edited: 15 September 2013 at 01:51 PM by Zuiko
 15 September 2013 02:56 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: jencam
Does the rise in the number of graduates in arts and soft subjects devalue degrees in professional subjects and hard sciences? Graduates in different subjects are not generally interchangeable in the job market but they often end up all being tarred with the same brush. Recently stuff has been written about graduates having to spend a few years in menial jobs before they find a job related to their degree. If the only available degree courses were professional subjects and the numbers graduating were the same as those graduating in these subjects today then would people be saying the same thing?

Value can be measured in different ways and so I would suggest that a better education adds overall value. I have seen many people doing good jobs which they liked in different disciplines to that which they graduated in and so it can depend on the person and the time. I do think if every one gained a BEng then there would not be enough engineering jobs and so in reality it is about trying to give good careers advice and getting the best fit with regards to the numbers studying a subject and the jobs which will be available. Impossible to get correct overall, but we could do better.

Regards.
 15 September 2013 02:58 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: Zuiko
You don't have to attend university for an education? It depends on what education you are after. Want to be a doctor? You must go to university.


Education and training are two completely different things. Please do not confuse them. Medicine degrees are actually more of a training course rather than a traditional academic degree.

Not that long ago, in this country, "institutionalised" education was seen as unsuitable for girls. The same attitude is commonplace around the world right now. Girls are killed trying to get to school. You may be impressed by the education of a limited number of students in India compared to "the west" (what a lazy phrase that is). Have you lived and worked in the developing or third world?


Yes I have. What I do realise is that technology can be used to 'leapfrog' intermediate developments of education used in more developed nations. It will enable children to access a wealth of educational material - more than a typical British school holds - online and from their own home. Instead of attending schools full time and sitting in classrooms much learning can be done at home at the student's own pace. Educational videos can reach out to audiences of millions and students can communicate with each other - including those thousands of miles away - using social networking.

Physical schools can be reduced down to learning centres where students attend them only for practical activities as and when required rather than all day every day.

I have (in Uganda). The populace is a product of what happens when formal education is limited to those that can pay for it, or from charities and benefactors providing equipment for the lucky few.


Recreating the 20th century British school system is not the solution. It would be much better if children were provided with their own educational resources instead.

I find the premise that "institutionalised" education must be a monetary investment utterly abhorrent and against all the basic principles of what education is for.


Changes in technology have rendered much of institutionalised education obsolete except to provide jobs for teachers and to incarcerate children. I suggest you spend some time learning more about home education and why it is increasing in popularity.

A high proportion of what universities teach can be taught online. YouTube technically has the possibility to make the lecture theatre obsolete - and potentially put lecturers out of a job. Why pay thousands for something you can get for free?
 15 September 2013 03:02 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: Zuiko
Just what Britain needs more of, uneducated slaving to the bank.

Now there is a good and correct statement and I agree with it in the way you made it.
Lord Henry's quote, "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing" springs to mind.

However, many know neither the price or the value.

Regards.
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