THE University of East Anglia is considering the idea of launching engineering degree programmes following an attack by George Morrison, MD of Aquaterra Energy.
Morrison used an EEEGR (East of England Energy Group) event to launch his criticism of UAE’s failure to offer degrees in engineering. He said it was important that this happened as such programmes would help bridge the engineering skills gap in the east of England, where the North Sea oil&gas industry has a significant foothold.
Morrison called for united support on the issue at the EEEGR ’08 annual conference staged at Newmarket.
He was reported as saying: “If we want a sustainable industry, I believe our regional voices, such as EEEGR, should make this a priority target. For our graduate needs, this would be like bringing water to the desert.
“I would estimate that, for every graduate I can attract this summer, Aquaterra will be able to sell an additional £500,000 of export work next year – and bring this work back to the Norfolk economy.”
He said that, this year, Aquaterra had advertised in UK universities to recruit six graduate engineers for various areas of work. He was swamped with 150 applications. Apparently, just six were from UK nationals.
Morrison pointed out that the nearest top engineering university to Great Yarmouth was Cambridge. That was too far away.
The UEA responded by saying it had started talks with key stakeholders about the idea of developing an engineering school on campus; moreover, it was canvassing views from the Norfolk business community.
A spokesperson for UEA was reported to say: “We have been considering the possibility of developing engineering activity at the University of East Anglia and have been in discussion with a number of stakeholders on this issue. We would welcome direct discussions with businesses, both to hear their views and to see how the possibility might be taken forward.”
EEEGR is a particularly lively UK energy trade association and its membership is active both in oil&gas and renewables.