The University of Warwick has hailed a spike in the number of students on its tunnelling masters degree.
The institution has 23 people enrolled on its MSc in Tunnelling and Underground Spaces this academic year – up from 14 last year and just 11 in 2011/12.
Benoit Jones, principal teaching fellow at the university’s School of Engineering, told NCE the increase was “promising for the industry”.
Skills shortages have been a major concern for the civils sector recently, and figures earlier this month showed the number of engineers coming to the UK from outside the European Union had risen by more than a third this year.
Professionals from firms such as Morgan Sindall and Mott MacDonald champion modules of the Warwick course, and industry specialists deliver guest lectures. Bursaries are offered by Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and the British Tunnelling Society.
The current intake is a mix of full and part-time students.
“The part time students receive varying degrees of support from their employers,” said Jones.
“Some pay the fees and give the student time off to attend modules and exams; some make the student pay the fees but are flexible in allowing them time to attend modules and exams.”
Companies to send students on the course have included URS, CH2M Hill, Network Rail, Mott MacDonald and Morgan Sindall.