In this photo provided by the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland, an electrical engineering student looks through a microscope at an electrical circuit in the field of microelectronics at the school in Queensland, Australia, July 19, 2017.
AUSTRALIA — The number of engineering students in Australia has increased by nearly 60% in the past five years and is expected to double in the next decade, according to a study published Wednesday.
A study published by the Australian Engineering Academy says engineering students are now the fastest growing group of students, with a growing percentage of them being enrolled in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
The academy said it has seen a dramatic rise in the number of students enrolled in engineering courses from about 200 in 2015 to more than 5,000 today.
“In Australia, more than 10,000 engineering students have taken courses in the last five years, making up over 25% of all engineering students and one-third of all Australian undergraduate engineering students,” the academy said in a statement.
At the same time, the number in the country of those who have studied engineering has increased from just under 500,000 in 2014 to more that 3 million today.
The report, which was co-authored by the academy’s chief executive officer Dr Tony Brown and other senior academic figures, said the numbers of engineering graduates were higher than the number who studied in other subjects.
“The growing trend of engineering-specific students in Australian universities is well documented and it is clear that the growth is linked to a rapidly evolving global landscape of global and domestic opportunities for engineering graduates,” Brown said.
Australian Engineering Association chief executive David Gyngell said the academy was “committed to a world where all students can achieve their potential through a strong foundation in engineering.”
“The academy is the global leader in engineering education and training in Australia, with more than 1,000 students participating in engineering-related research projects in all domains across the world,” Gyngll said.
“As such, the academy is well positioned to address challenges faced by the sector and provide the skills needed to create high-paying jobs for future generations of engineers.”
Brown said the report was a “critical opportunity” to help prepare students for careers in engineering.
He said the current system of education was “not working,” as graduates were “wasted on a career path they do not want and do not have any experience in.”
The report says engineering courses are “one of the few fields in Australia that has consistently shown growth” over the past decade, with an average of 9.8 engineering graduates per 10,0000 students in 2020.
In the past, the numbers have been lower, but this could be due to students taking courses in other areas, the report said.
“With the increased focus on engineering and with the increasing importance of STEM in the global economy, it is critical that students have a strong understanding of the field, its history and its relevance to the global economic environment,” Brown wrote.
Students in the United States are expected to be the next biggest growth area for engineering in 2020, the study said.