The University of Waikato says it has capacity to take on at least 100 more engineering students in the five programmes it offers.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce announced last week that he’d gained 1000 extra places for engineering students at universities and polytechnics next year which he hopes will go some way to address the shortage of engineers in New Zealand.
In the 10 years Waikato has offered professional engineering qualifications, numbers have steadily increased to 350 but the School has capacity for 450 says Associate Dean of Engineering Professor Janis Swan. The Waikato degree offers five engineering disciplines – mechanical, software, chemical and biological, materials and process, and electronic – all accredited by IPENZ, the Institute of Professional Engineers.
Engineering and information technology are the two occupations in most demand and Mr Joyce sees lifting student numbers in those areas as crucial to economic growth.
“We’re conscious of the demand to produce work-ready graduates,” says Professor Swan. “To that end we’ve developed strong relationships with businesses so all our second and third year students have the opportunity to gain work experience while studying – we have a dedicated unit for finding work placements and work experience is usually the best way into a permanent job.”