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A Sustainable Cohort of Professional Civil Engineering Graduates? Uncovering the United Kingdom Graduate Crisis


David J. Edwards 
Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom 
d.j.edwards@lboro.ac.uk 

Andrew R.J. Dainty 
Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Peter E.D. Love 
Management Information Systems, Edith Cowan University, Australia

 

 

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Abstract

Undergraduate applications to civil engineering courses have been declining at an alarming rate despite the industry's healthy economic activity. Concerns abound as to the long-term impact of this decline as the sector is already suffering skills shortages across virtually all of its occupations. This paper investigates the likely future trends in undergraduate admissions to civil engineering degree courses based on an analysis of Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) statistics for the period 1994 to 2000. The analysis reveals that applications have sharply declined over this period from 5,104 in 1994 to 2,905 in 2000. This trend is then modelled using a bivariate quadratic and cubic model equations to determine the volume of future applications. With an Rē of 0.99 and a mean absolute percentage error of less than one per cent, the model appears to be robust and reliable. By contrasting graduate intake with sector turnover, the paper explores whether any significant correlation exists between market buoyancy and the attractiveness of a professional civil engineering career. Model forecasts over a six-year period suggest that applications will continue to decline, albeit at a slower rate. The likely causes and implications of the trends are discussed and measures proposed to stem the decline in popularity of civil engineering degree courses. 

Graduate shortages, forecasts, manpower planning, civil engineering, United Kingdom

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Edwards, D.J., Dainty, A.R.J. and Love, P.E.D. (2004) A Sustainable Cohort of Professional Civil Engineering Graduates? Uncovering the United Kingdom Graduate Crisis. International Education Journal, 5 (3), 374-384.
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