Collaboration to highlight tertiary pathways


Overcoming a general lack of awareness amongst the public about pathways in engineering is a challenge. This year, Unitec and the University of Auckland have tried a new approach to informing students about the Bachelor of Engineering Technology.

Many students, parents, teachers and the wider community don’t know much about engineering careers. They know even less about the pathways to engineering via the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) and Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech). With a shortage of engineers in many fields and high demand for NZDE/BEngTech graduates, every initiative to promote engineering pathways makes a difference.

Unitec and University of Auckland collaborate

In 2015, Unitec approached the University of Auckland to suggest publicising the BEngTech (Civil) to students who are not accepted for the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) (Honours) degree. A group from Unitec met with Faculty of Engineering Associate Deans Gerard Rowe and Michael Hodgson and a group of support staff who are responsible for enrolments, to discuss the idea.

A lot of students apply to study towards the BE (Hons) and this year the university’s guaranteed entry level was oversubscribed, which meant it had to find additional places for extra students. The NCEA guaranteed entry level will be raised in 2016 to a rank score of 260.

Unitec has growing numbers opting to study towards a BEngTech and, with enrolments higher this year than last, has had to open new streams in some core compulsory courses. This follows a continual increase – in 2005 there were about 30 BEngTech students starting the course, while 2015 sees 60 to 70 new students enrolling. Some students will come through from the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering programme, so there will be approximately 100 new BEngTech students in total this year.

While, of course, many of those who failed to get entry into the BE (Hons) will look to other opportunities at the university, there will be some who had their heart set on engineering. Unitec proposed investigating options to provide unsuccessful applicants with information about the BEngTech.

Informal agreement

The two institutions came to what is, at the moment, an informal agreement. When students who have set their minds on studying engineering query their unsuccessful entry application, they are provided with information on options at other providers (Unitec, MIT and AUT). A similar arrangement applies to students who have successfully completed Part 1 but are unsuccessful in gaining selection for their preferred specialisation of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Those who indicate they only want to study Civil and Environmental Engineering are also given information about the Unitec BEngTech (Civil). This includes the contact details of someone they can talk to in person, to make it easier for students to immediately follow up the idea.

Engineering e2e congratulates Unitec and the University of Auckland on their efforts to show students the multiple pathways to an engineering career, and thanks staff for their time and advice. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch

July 2015