Engineering Study in the UK

In this blog post, we cover some key statistics on Engineering Study in the UK and make the case for Levelling Up: Maths for Engineering

Engineering Study in the UK

Engineering is a big subject at university. There were 110,000 students (about 34,000 per annum), of which 25% were overseas students, studying for a first degree in engineering full-time in the UK in 2021. It is larger than computing as a subject, and larger than maths and physics combined. Nonetheless, we need more professional engineers in the UK.

Half of engineering and technology businesses are experiencing difficulties in the skills available to them when trying to recruit. The UK needs to generate an estimated 59,000 engineers annually1

The subject breaks down by discipline more distinctly than other subjects. The top 5 disciplines (representing 75% of all students) are mechanical, electrical/electronic, civil, aeronautical, and chemical.

Raising Awareness

Awareness of Engineering as a profession is poor. Unless you already know a professional engineer, you may think of plumbers or electricians, rather than the professional engineers who do things like design solutions to tackle climate change, or improve people’s lives through medical device innovation.

The engineering institutes do well at providing exciting STEM resources and activities interventions in Key Stage 3 (pre GCSE), continuing into Key Stage 4 (GCSEs), but virtually nothing at A-level.

In this key decision-making period for teenagers as they make their career decisions, engineering is losing out to other STEM career pathways such as medicine, which has more outreach activity in sixth form.

Raising Maths Capabilities, and making it relevant

You can’t study Engineering at A-level … Maths is the foundation A-level subject for Engineering. Physics (and of course Chemistry for the Chemical Engineering) are useful but not critical.

Maths taught at A-level is all relevant to engineering, but it is often taught in an abstract context, rather than tying it to practical examples. This causes problems in the first year of university2, but for a lot of A-level students it also turns them off Maths.

Levelling Up: Maths for Engineering

Our goal with Levelling Up Maths for Engineering is therefore:

  • raise awareness of engineering as a fantastic, STEM-based career
  • raise the maths capabilities of those interested in engineering
  • help students appreciate the relevance of maths in practical engineering situations

We will achieve this by:

  • Tutoring underserved A-level maths students in the UK in small groups, delivered in small tutor groups by engineering undergraduates from a local university
  • Developing a tutorial syllabus that makes maths topics relevant to engineering

If you believe you can help us with our goals, please contact us at .

Read about our launch of Levelling Up: Maths for Engineering here