Flexible learning

Andrew Porter wrote that students need to pursue a Masters degree in order to become a chartered engineer. This is, in fact, not true.

While the four-year integrated Masters degree is one way to get chartered status, there are many other ways that individuals can demonstrate the required level of knowledge and understanding.

These include following an assessed work-based learning programme or writing a technical report based on experience. And increasingly, engineers can follow an integrated work-based pathway developed by ECUK. This minimises the level of debt incurred while maximising employment and earnings prospects. Additional benefits are gained by both employee and employer due to the tailoring of the learning programme to meet the needs of the organisation.

In fact, engineering provides an excellent example of a profession in which it is possible to progress through a variety of higher, further and vocational education routes. Qualification to engineering technician level and beyond can be achieved via apprenticeships, vocational courses, Higher Nationals, foundation degrees and a variety of other routes, providing opportunities for any individual to achieve a senior position of responsibility.

What is more, in the current economic climate, engineering offers better job security and more stable employment prospects than either of the alternatives that have been suggested — banking and media studies.

Andrew Ramsay, chief executive officer, Engineering Council UK