Preparing non-traditional students for engineering degrees

Nadine Adams, Clinton Hayes, Antony Dekkers, Josua Pienaar


Engineering employment in Australia is cyclic in nature. Australian Government reports indicate that in the past five years there has been a threefold increase in the average number of candidates for engineering positions and a doubling in the proportion of vacancies filled. Until relatively recently there was a surplus in engineering positions; making engineering an attractive career option for students. Students tend to decide on their study direction based on the present economic climate, thus the present downturn in the resource sector and the reduction of engineering positions may result in another shortage of engineering graduates in five years' time. Previous shortages in qualified engineers, combined with the Australian Government's widening participation agenda, have attracted many non-traditional students to pursue engineering degrees. The number of non-traditional students entering the Bachelor of Engineering at Central Queensland University has more than doubled between 2011 and 2014. As engineering bachelor degrees have mathematics prerequisites or assumed knowledge, non-traditional students use enabling programmes to gain entry into these degrees at Central Queensland University. In this study we examine the effectiveness of enabling mathematics units preparing non-traditional students for a bachelor of engineering degree.



enabling mathematics; non-traditional students; progression

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ANZIAM Journal, ISSN 1446-8735, copyright Australian Mathematical Society.