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Construction-related degree applicants soar in 2005

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UCAS annual figures show that acceptances onto construction-related courses rose substantially in 2005. With major infrastructure projects such as the Olympics and the public sector building programme and redevelopment projects – such as the Thames Gateway – underway, it is vital that these increases are sustained.

ConstructionSkills, the sector skills council for the construction industry, believes these results point to strong headway being made in an industry that will create opportunities for 23,500 more people in professional and technical roles between now and 2008 as 117,500 new positions are created by planned and new projects.

Rises in construction-related degrees were seen across the board:

  • acceptances for building courses rose 18.3%
  • acceptances for planning (urban, rural and regional) courses rose 14.9%
  • acceptances for architecture courses rose 10.6%
  • acceptances for general engineering courses rose 10.3%
  • acceptances for civil engineering rose 4.3%

Commenting on the UCAS figures released, Paul Sykes, Recruitment Manager

“Applications to vocation-related degree courses – particularly those within construction and the built environment – have risen again, which is good news for the industry as a whole.

“The construction industry has been missing out on much-needed talent because of an outdated image, but these figures prove we are beginning to make some headway. As the sector skills council for the construction industry, ConstructionSkills has launched the Inspire Scholarships scheme which awards grants of up to £9,000 to students applying for construction-related degree courses as well as on-the-job training.“

Recent ConstructionSkills research shows that the introduction of higher tuition fees could jeopardise the growth in applications to degree courses. The research (conducted with BMRB) amongst 16-18 year olds showed 63% cited high tuition fees as a potential deterrent to applying for degree courses. The potential that they would get into debt was cited by 61% as a potential deterrent. The research found these concerns were echoed by parents of students considering university application.

Paul Sykes continues: “Industry initiatives such as Inspire Scholarships can go a long way to help convince young people that there are benefits to degree level education and ensure that there is a continued flow of quality candidates coming into the construction industry. Industry bodies, employers and the public sector need to continue to build partnerships to ensure that the growth in job-ready employees continues across Britain’s leading sectors.”

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