Engineering is not all about oily rags and lathes. It is a high technology area with many exciting opportunities. At the moment the UK faces a chronic shortage of people with engineering skills and knowledge. This course provides students with an entry point to becoming a professional Engineer.
The qualification is designed for 16 to 19 year-old students in full-time education who are interested in pursuing a career in Engineering and who are interested in engineering technology. It is the equivalent of one A Level and must be taken in both the Lower and Upper Sixth.
The course could lead to further study in Engineering, or an Engineering related apprenticeship or related employment.
This qualification is recognised by leading engineering businesses and universities such as Cisco Systems, the Engineering Council, Network Rail, Nottingham Trent University, Parafix, Royal Academy of Engineering, the University of Exeter and the University of Northampton.
In addition, this qualification has been approved by the engineering professional bodies on behalf of the Engineering Council as contributing to the requirements for professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).
The professional bodies include The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and The Society of Operations Engineers (SOE).
Progression could follow one of three routes:
- Employment in Level 3 job roles,
- Higher apprenticeship programmes or
- Higher education courses in engineering.
- Apply mathematical and physical science principles to solve electrical, electronic and mechanical-based engineering problems.
- Explore how processes are undertaken by teams to create engineered products or to deliver engineering services safely.
- Explore engineering product design and manufacturing processes – involving the completion of activities that consider function, sustainability, materials, form and other factors.
- Develop two-dimensional (2D) detailed drawings and three-dimensional (3D) models using a computer-aided design (CAD) system.
Course Specific Trips & Visits
The course will include visits to employers and talks at Reigate College by visiting speakers including:
- Crossrail – Chief Engineer, Chris Binns, discussed the challenges in planning and designing the new Elizabeth Line in London
- Waterman Group – Richard Brooks, Consulting Engineer, shared the potential opportunities in Engineering and the day-to-day problem solving when working in Engineering
- Bloodhound – students engaged in a real life problem solving activity involving a high speed car themed workshop where they designed, built and tested their models
Previously, students have attended the following trips:
- Portsmouth University – taster day combining Product Design and Engineering to digitally render the components of a wind tunnel.
- The Mini factory in Oxfordshire – to review how vehicles are mass produced using computer aided manufacturing.
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
There are four units taken across two years.
In Year One the assessments will include:
- Engineering Principles: external examination
- Delivery of Engineering Processes Safely as a Team: internally assessed
In Year Two the assessments will include:
- Engineering Product Design and Manufacture: externally set and marked assignment
- Computer Aided Design in Engineering: internally assessed
The exam board for this course is Pearson BTEC.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on a Level 3 programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:
- Grade 6 in Maths
How is the course content structured?
The content is split into two areas. The physics / maths content includes mechanics, electricity, electromagnetism, and fluid dynamics.
The design element will cover common engineering design and manufacturing processes as well as CAD.
What practical work is there?
For one of the units, you are required to work in groups to batch produce an engineered product. You will also be going into the workshop to learn the practical elements of using machinery.
Is the course difficult?
There are many elements in the course that require independent learning and dedication. Some students might find the mathematical areas challenging and this will require regular and concerted effort to master the skills required.
How important is the maths component?
The maths element of the course is extremely important. Two thirds of the first year course is ‘applied mathematics’ and this counts towards two thirds of your first-year grade. In the second year, there is not as much new mathematical content to learn.
What support is there if I find the course challenging?
There are drop-in sessions and a lesson of extra support if needed. Teachers are always happy to speak to students after the lesson and by email communication.
How is the course taught?
The teaching is split between two teachers, each with their own specialism and area of expertise. The physics/maths element is taught by a Physics teacher. The design/applied science and workshop elements are taught by a Design teacher.
How is the course assessed?
There is an external exam at the end of the first year.
Coursework is continually assessed throughout the year with an external coursework component in the second year.
Is there any software that I need at home?
During the course you will have access to AutoCAD, which is free for students to download and use at home.
How many students are typically in a class?
There are normally between 16- 20 students per class.
Do I need DT experience?
No, you do not need to have studied DT at GCSE. However, the additional understanding of the principles of structures, materials and mechanisms would be beneficial.