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UK threatened by chemical engineering shortage

03 November 2008

Plans to reduce UK carbon emissions could be jeopardised by a lack of investment in chemical engineering education, according to the profession's licensing body. Dr David Brown, Chief Executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers said that calls for greater investment in chemical engineering at UK universities have not been acted upon.

UK threatened by chemical engineering shortage
UK threatened by chemical engineering shortage

It is also likely that current graduate intake levels will fail to meet industry demand. "Chemical engineers will be at the forefront of the battle against climate change but there simply aren't going to be enough of them graduating from our universities," Brown warned. "This year, we've seen a record intake of students opting to study the subject at universities but more places must be made available to meet both student and employer demand.

"When last year's intake figures were published, we warned that investment was needed by both Government and industry to expand existing departments and establish new ones in appropriate locations. Since then, intake has continued to grow but we have seen little evidence of investment.

"We are close to reaching a point where further growth is impossible because we have neglected the capacity problems. Everyone will be affected - whether it's the student who can't study the subject they want to, the employer who can't hire sufficient staff, or the public who pay the price for the skills shortage," said Brown.

UCAS figures reveal that 1645 students began studying chemical engineering in the UK this year, a 13% rise on 2007 intake and a 75% rise since 2001.

Following recommendations by Brown, chemical engineering was also included on a list of 'shortage occupation' professions by the UK

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