Engineered for success

29th June 2012 at 01:00

I read with interest your article "Engineering placements fail to attract Scots" (1 June) and feel I should share my experience of the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) with your readers.

Last year, four of my pupils gained a Year in Industry placement and have been back to the school to promote the scheme to the current S6. From that, six members of the current S6 have now secured a placement on the scheme.

Having left industry to follow a career in teaching, I am only too aware that an excellent degree no longer guarantees you a job or even an interview these days, but I believe that the experience these pupils are gaining will set them apart from the rest.

They all talk with enthusiasm about the responsibility they have been given, the projects they have been involved with and their importance to the business.

I have no doubt that when they start university they will be more motivated and will have a better chance of completing their chosen course.

Every pupil has had a very positive experience; it has confirmed to them that they want to follow a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) career path before embarking on a four-year course and, in some instances, it has helped them to secure summer placements and, indeed, sponsorships while they are studying at university.

In contradiction to the heading of the article, one of my students decided to take up a placement with National Grid in England, so it is not all one-way traffic.

I do, however, realise that if there are indeed only 40 placements, then my students alone will account for 15 per cent of pupils involved in the Year in Industry scheme. I would, therefore, urge all teachers involved in encouraging STEM careers to invite the EDT into their school to promote these fantastic opportunities to their pupils.

David Sudding, Williamwood High, East Renfrewshire.

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