DS wants to do 'engineering'...

(50 Posts)
LittenTree Wed 19-Sep-12 15:22:01

I am an FE numpty. I know nothing. DS is in Y9 and is showing aptitude in science/maths- not at a very high level, I should add, but I believe he'd be capable of science/maths 'A' levels.

He has suggested he'd like to 'do engineering' at FE. I confess I am wholly supportive of thsi ambition as I believe STEM is where the jobs of the future will lie.

Now, how and where do we go about finding out what the options for engineering are, which colleges offer what he might choose to do etc? I don't know which are 'good' now as I'm looong out of the system!

There are other routes, too, like joining a big company at 18 and working whilst studying simultaneously, I've heard, but is there an 'umbrella' place where such information is stored?

His school, whilst an excellent comp, goes to 16, then it's 6th form college where I trust he will be guided; but forewarned, etc!

Bearcat Wed 19-Sep-12 15:46:38

DS1 did civil engineering at university.
Probably engineering is one of the more difficult courses at university (he once told me that even his medical student friends thought the engineers worked harder than they did!)
Your son should probably be choosing the 3 sciences for GCSE and then when he gets to A level should definitely be choosing maths and physics.
Engineering degrees are 4 years long if you then want to go on to become a chartered engineer.
Contact time was about 25 hours a week I seem to remember when he was at university and he only graduated 2 years ago.
I don't think engineering is a degree for the faint hearted. It was hard work and DS1 had had enough after 4 years and was happy to finish.
Yr 9 is probably too young to start worrying about where he might study engineering, but just make sure he chooses well with GCSE's and particularly at A level.
Good luck!

creamteas Wed 19-Sep-12 18:29:49

Have a look here he might find it helpful

BTW do you live in the West Midlands? If so he might be able to go to Aston UTC which is an engineering-based college.

Betelguese Wed 19-Sep-12 19:19:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

senua Wed 19-Sep-12 20:22:49

I am an FE numpty.

Um, do you mean FE or HE? FE (further ed) usually means C&G, HND, foundation degree etc. HE (higher ed) usually means degree at University. Do you know yet which path is likely, or are you looking at all post A Level options?

harbingerofdoom Wed 19-Sep-12 21:29:19

Your son is in year 9. Just make sure he can do the GCSEs that show his ability in the STEM areas.
Then,after he has his grades, he will look at 6th form colleges. Some will be great for the high fliers and others will offer HND and work based courses.

Just make sure the first bit is addressed for now.

ratbagcatbag Wed 19-Sep-12 21:34:39

I got an apprenticeship at 16 with rolls-Royce in engineering, was sneered at by lots of college bound people, 13 years on I'm in a role I love, doing a degree they are funding earning a very decent wage at the same time, to get similar now they don't just want gcse results they want to know what projects people have been involved in etc outside school that are engineering related. smile

Betelguese Thu 20-Sep-12 12:09:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Thu 20-Sep-12 12:12:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bruffin Thu 20-Sep-12 12:34:02

Find out if your ds's school is affiliated to the Arkwright Scholarship Trust scheme or see if they would be interested. My DS has just been awarded a 6th form scholarship from Arkwright to study towards taking an engineering degree at university.

Betelguese Thu 20-Sep-12 12:42:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bruffin Thu 20-Sep-12 18:41:29

Thanks Betelguese grin Hope full
OP- I think it is quite easy for a school to become affiliated, so it may be worth bringing the scheme to the school attention now.

SCOTCHandWRY Fri 21-Sep-12 07:36:31

re Arkwright, applications have now opened for next year. The applicant must be in current 4th year (Scotland), Y11 (England), so one for the future OP!

If a school is not affiliated, they can do that at the same time they put a student/students forward.

My DS1 got an Arkwright, DS3 is trying for one this year - they are not just for those who want to study Engineering, but all STEM subjects (emphasis is on engineering tho). DS1 is studying Medicine, but is very interested in electronic engineering and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up combining both in his future career.

bruffin Fri 21-Sep-12 08:45:54

Sorry OP slightly of topic
Scotchandwry
Did your DS get a free Headstart course from Arkwright? The website says that they pay for a Headstart but i don't think it's mentioned in the papers DS received.
Also if you don't mind me asking what has your DS spent his money on?

SCOTCHandWRY Fri 21-Sep-12 21:41:34

I don't remember anything called Headstart (his 1st year of the 2 year scholarship was 2009/10 school year, I think the Whole Arkwright has got bigger in the last couple of years?).

He spent his money on a helicopter (about £180), and lots of electronic stuff which he used to design/build things for it. He designed some circuit boards for another project too, and had a few dozen of these made in China (for his school to use).

He was able to use this in Uni application as a talking point and talk it round to his interest in the future applications of some of the components he used in the Helicopter in medical applications such as tiny devices to deliver drugs to the correct place and other clever things.

harbingerofdoom Fri 21-Sep-12 22:49:02

My DD did a big engineering STEM competition that was allowed as an AS level.It was in the news and another group designed something to detect/blow up IEDs.

FancyBread Fri 21-Sep-12 23:38:48

You could try this book available from Amazon or UCAS etc

The UCAS Guide to Getting into Engineering and Mathematics: Information on Careers, Entry Routes and Applying to University or College in 2013 (Progression Series) [Paperback]

ISBN-10: 1908077182
ISBN-13: 978-1908077189

FancyBread Fri 21-Sep-12 23:41:41

These are the Headstart courses.

They are great but hard to get on.

Quiteoldmother Sat 22-Sep-12 22:01:31

Possibilities: GCSE options: Separate science GCSEs so physics included. (Avoid BTEc science or similar); maybe a DT option such as resistant materials or electronic products, and aim for high grade in maths of course.
Post 16: apprenticeships with big company eg British Aerospace or Rolls Royce if available where you live; or A levels in maths and physics etc; or BTEC Nat Dip in Engineering followed by apprenticeship or university.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 22-Sep-12 22:17:03

It depends what you mean by engineering.

The top disciplines of mechanical, civil, electrical, and chemical are on par with other professions, such as law and medicine - at Russell Group universities.

Below that are many niche subsets, such as industrial and aeronautical engineering. Then you get technician level courses or apprenticeships.

I would recommend aiming high. An A* student at GCSE should be looking towards A-levels including Physics and Maths (and Chemistry for Chem Eng). RG universities will ask for AAA to ABB at A2. If your DS is capable of these grades, he should go for top courses.

As with any UCAS application, he will want to demonstrate his passion for the course. This could mean reading about the subject, getting work experience or doing a summer course (such as Headatart).

LittenTree Sat 22-Sep-12 22:55:37

Just to let you know I'm reading with interest, still!

fossil97 Sat 22-Sep-12 23:38:52

He might not be clear about this at Y9, but for now do maths and science GSCEs as suggested, plus other subjects that interest him. When he has an idea of his grades and A level choices he can start to narrow down disciplines and whether or not to go the university route.

It's also worth trying to get involved in some careers courses or events like the Big Bang fair or Headstart as suggested. It helps to understand and focus on the options both for disciplines and how to get into them. And just generally get excited about engineering generally.

FWIW I'm a civil engineer, I design bridges and motorways, I go out and get muddy. There was no way I was going to build an electronic flying helicopter at any point in my career but I definitely remember the first time I visited a working building site. So don't get put off if he doesn't want to build a robot, there is so very much else to it.

Engineering is very diverse, but it's a great career that you can go into at lots of levels.

Bellaciao Wed 26-Sep-12 17:35:52

By the way you do not necessairly have to do a 4 year course at university - this is the higher level M Eng ie a masters incorporated into the degree. But the lower level B Eng is 3 years like many other degrees and the grade requirements are lower - depending on the university

My son did get in to do an M Eng at a Russell group uni but dropped out of his 3rd year half-way through because he fell behind (health issue amongst other reasons) - went back and did the 3rd year and came out with a B Eng (Mehcanical and Manufacturing). He is now 25 and has just completed a one year grad scheme in a company and has been give a really good job at 30K per annum.

There is still a shortage of engineers ( maybe not when your son gets to 21!) at the moment so if he is able and gets a 2:1 degree is almost assured of some sort of job - of course depending on which engineering discipline he chooses.

As one of the previous posters said - this is only one route - but just thought I would point out the 3 year degree option, which is less demanding.

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 26-Sep-12 20:56:35

I would caution against being satisfied with a BEng. Obviously, if that is the match with your A-level grades, then fine, but aim to move up to MEng at the end of the first year. A BEng is also fine is joining a major company on a graduate programme that enables you to effectively finish the MEng on the way to chartered status.

This is for the professional engineering disciplines of Electrical/Electronic, Mechanical, Civil, and Chemical Engineering.

I have a feeling that the BEng vs MEng is separating technicians from design engineers.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 26-Sep-12 21:19:35

DH is a mechanical engineer. He has a BEng, but it was a long time ago, and that was what was on offer back then...

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