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Govt calls on universities to drop M&E fees


THE OFFICE of Government Commerce is pressing universities to waive fees for M&E engineers to help tackle a growing skills crisis in the sector.

Chief executive John Oughton has recommended the move in the OGC's submission to the Treasury ahead of next year's Budget.

OGC smarter construction director David Adamson told a conference last week: 'The shortage of M&E engineers was brought to ministerial attention as far as 10 years ago so we are recommending they should not have to pay fees to go through university, as something similar was done to encourage more mathematics teachers.

'The real problem nationally with M&E is a higher crisis point than the others - we are also hoping to establish more bursaries and fellowships.'

Figures from university admissions service UCAS show applications for mechanical engineering degree courses have fallen 6 per cent since 1996.

The M&E shortage was highlighted in a Deloitte report on construction supply and demand over the next 10 years published earlier this year. This identified expertise in M&E and project management skills as highest in demand.