Engineering a new future for tomorrow’s learners

Young people in Wales thinking of a career in engineering may in future have an opportunity to study the subject for a new GCSE.

Engineering and manufacturing play an important part in the Welsh economy, employing more than 165,000 people from those working in small workshops to hi-tech companies such as Airbus, Tata Steel and Aston Martin. 

A new engineering and manufacturing GCSE could support the purposes of the new curriculum planned by Welsh Government for 2022, by helping to develop ambitious, enterprising and creative learners. 

Qualifications Wales is proposing a new GCSE in engineering and manufacturing as part of a new science and technology suite of qualifications made specifically for young people in Wales

In its Qualified for the future consultation, Qualifications Wales is asking for views on the proposed new qualification. For example, the new GCSE is likely to replace some of the qualifications that learners currently take in subjects related to engineering and manufacturing. 

It’s one of several proposals contained in the consultation which seeks to map out the future of qualifications in Wales. They are keen to hear the views of educators, employers and learners about the idea. 

The proposal follows an in-depth review of the advanced manufacturing, engineering and energy sector carried out by Qualifications Wales last year. 

The review identified a need to build greater awareness among young people of engineering and apprenticeships, particularly in schools, and to encourage more women and girls to follow engineering-related courses. 

This new qualification would give learners a chance to explore the rich and varied opportunities offered by the world of engineering. It’s suggested the content will have a strong focus on assessing practical skills and applying knowledge to real-life scenarios, as well as theoretical content. 

Other subjects proposed as part of the science and technology suite include GCSEs in the Built Environment and Digital Technology. The Qualified for the future consultation also includes proposals for GCSEs in languages, maths, humanities, expressive arts, and health and wellbeing. The consultation runs until April. 

By Emyr George, Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform, Qualifications Wales