Massey University will offer extra engineering spots in 2013, responding to a government funding drive tailored to address a skill shortage in the industry.
The Tertiary Education Commission will pay for 700 extra engineering places to be offered at universities and institutes of technology nationwide, Tertiary Education Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce yesterday announced.
Massey University has confirmed it will be answering the call to offer more engineering spots to students next year, and UCOL, currently embattled with funding cuts, is also tipped to be in negotiation with the TEC.
Massey spokesman James Gardiner said the university planned to offer about 100 extra Equivalent Fulltime Student places (EFTS) for engineering students at its Manawatu and Albany campuses over the next two years.
"We are pleased to see this support for engineering, which is in line with Massey's strategy and the recent strong growth in demand for science and technology-related qualifications.
"We offer tremendous opportunities for students and research in those subject areas," Mr Gardiner said.
"However, it is important to note that this is not all new money, it is funding that has been taken from elsewhere in the sector."
In its Budget the government had leaned on current providers to increase their spots for trades and engineering, directing funding toward degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The government had budgeted $42 million to subsidise engineering tuition and now the TEC is to offer a further $8.3 million to training providers to ensure extra spots are on offer at institutions throughout the country.
Yesterday Mr Joyce announced the TEC would fund about two-thirds of the 1000 student spots called for - the rest, totalling 300 EFTS, would be catered for within training providers' own budgets.
Training providers would account for the extra engineering students they were expected to host by restructuring their funding, Mr Joyce said.
Approximately 8785 equivalent fulltime students were predicted to be studying engineering at both diploma and degree level in 2013 and the government sought to produce an extra 500 engineering graduates per year by 2017, Mr Joyce said.
"The reality is if we want faster economic growth for New Zealand then we need to invest in skills that will help grow the economy. Having more engineers will assist in building a more productive and competitive economy."
- Manawatu Standard