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Industry backs training of more lecturers in engineering

A new generation of engineering and construction lecturers is expected after Education Secretary Alan Johnson agreed to consider making it easier for professionals to teach in colleges.
Johnson is considering introducing a new national teaching qualification for vocational lecturers that will make it easier for professionals to become lecturers.He agreed to act after he was warned by Phil Harrison, Chief Executive of Protocol National, an agency that supplies lecturers to colleges, that engineering and construction professionals needed to be drafted into colleges to address a serious shortage.'There is an urgent need to develop the type of qualification that recognizes the practical nature of the individuals who have a desire to teach and share their experience gained from the workplace,' said Harrison. 'There are many skilled people like construction workers who are put off passing on their knowledge because of the heavy emphasis now on academic qualifications.'He added, 'There needs to be a better balance which enables those with the practical experience to go into lecturing. It can be a vicious circle. We don't have the lecturers so students aren't coming through to learn the courses which in turn impacts on the economy.'Harrison met Johnson at the start of the Association of Colleges annual conference in Birmingham.

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