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Background and Issues

The Engineering e2e Programme is responding to anticipated shortages of engineers

The New Zealand Government has set a goal of increasing engineering graduates to 500 per annum from 2017. This goal was set in response to the National Engineering Education Plan (NEEP) report research produced by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

This research forecasts future shortages of engineers. We particularly need to increase graduates with the following:

  • Diploma in Engineering (Level 6)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Level 7)

We also want to increase numbers of BE(Hons) graduates (Level 8).

The Government has responded with increased funding, and the Engineering e2e Programme

In the Government's Budget 2012 it allocated $42 million over four years (8.8% funding rate increase). In Budget 2013 it allocated a further $9.34 million (2% funding rate increase).

This funding will:

  • boost selected engineering courses
  • maintain quality of provision
  • ensure providers have incentives to increase the number of graduates

Demand estimates from the NEEP Project Governing Group:

Qualification type

Actual qualification
completions in 2008

Estimated annual needs for:

% growth
required

Business as usual

Innovation-led economy

Level 6 Diploma in Engineering
(Dublin Accord)

270

500

750

85–178%

Level 7 Bachelor of Engineering Technology
(Sydney Accord)

180

400

600

120–233%

Level 8 Bachelor of Engineering (Hons)
(Washington Accord)

1,050

1,100

1,400

5–33%

TOTAL

1,500

2,000

2,750

33–83%

During 2014, TEC reconvened the NEEP Project Governing Group to reconsider these estimated annual needs. The Group considers that the proportions of engineers with qualifications at levels 6, 7 and 8 indicated in the 2010 NEEP report are still valid. The process to determine the figures was a robust one and without any more relevant recent data it is difficult to update the figures at this stage.

However, the Group believes that chasing the OECD average is a worthwhile goal and this will mean an increase in engineers at all levels will be required, though agreed that there is work to do in the schooling sector to support students to achieve prerequisite subjects and also in the engineering sector to create a demand for engineering graduates. The potential social and economic benefits to New Zealand justify such effort.

Recommendations:

  1. Research the requirements of new disciplines to support an innovation-led economy.
  2. Provide clear pathways to and between the three qualifications.
  3. Be more innovative with programmes and pathways to engineering.
  4. There is no “right number” of engineers to provide, based on current available data, but there is consensus that the proportions of graduates are still valid.
  5. Different levels and qualifications of engineering need to be understood better, particularly Level 6 and 7.
  6. Quantify and determine how best to fill the leadership vacuum currently being experienced in the sector.
  7. Be aspirational and focus on a target, which will support an innovation led economy, rather than the status quo.

Read more about The National Engineering Education Plan (2010)

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