IET: Open letter to the government about plan for downgrading the value of the existing Engineering Diploma


The engineering community is surprised and stunned at the Government’s plan for downgrading the value of the existing Engineering Diploma after so little time since it came into existence. The Engineering Diploma is widely recognised as a significant route to providing the crucial technical and practical skills that young people will need to build a Britain that can compete effectively and internationally where technology can make such a difference to our digital world. Industry and the professional engineering institutions have worked extensively to make this 14-19 qualification a highly robust and attractive qualification, which now appears to be being undermined by the Government’s premature decision to downgrade its worth.

As part of a wide-ranging review into vocational education, the engineering qualification developed by JCB, Rolls Royce, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the University of Cambridge, will in future count as only one GCSE rather than five as is the case now in school performance league tables.

Appeals to the Department for Education and Number 10 have already been made to allow for more time and consideration but this appears to have been denied. If the Government is serious in its effort to rebalance the economy away from single sectors to a broader base we cannot afford to reduce our engineering capability so swiftly.

The Department for Education must recognise that qualifications such as the Engineering Diploma will be at the heart of achieving improvements to the economy and supporting a pipeline of future apprentices, technicians and engineers.

So far the Government has failed to recognise the importance of overall technical training and the critical role it plays in economic growth for both manufacturing and services. The Government will fail many of our young people if it does not provide a high-quality alternative to traditional academic routes.

We now urge Government to address this by supporting the Engineering Diploma, and not undermining it.


Dr Mike Short, President, Institution of Engineering and Technology


Co-signed by:

Sir Roger Bone, President, Boeing United Kingdom Ltd

Mike Kurth, Managing Director, Boeing Defence UK Ltd

Naomi Climer, Vice President, Sony Europe

Brian Holliday, Divisional Director, Siemens plc

Steve Burgin, Country President, Alstom

Steve Holliday, Chief Executive, National Grid

Mark Stewart, General Manager and HR Director, Airbus

Jim Wade, Principal, JCB Academy

David Bell, Chief Corporate Development Officer, JCB

Philip Beaumont, Engineering Director, Toshiba International (Europe) Ltd

Arshad Rasul, Director of Broadcast and Distribution, S4C

Gina Citroni, Chief Executive Officer, Amplicon

Matt Wilson, Chief Executive, Crosby Communications plc

Dr Victor Higgs, Managing Director, Applied Nanodetectors Ltd

Dave Davis MBE, Project Support Engineering Manager, NSSLGlobal Ltd



Robert Beahan

Media Relations Manager



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