Graduates and professionals in the STEM sector can celebrate as the Government has announced that is changing its Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ), further opening the door for people to train in STEM subjects.
From September 2015, Tuition Fee Loans for all STEM courses will be available to students in England that already have a higher-level qualification, providing help and support to those interested in entering the STEM sector.

A step in the right direction

This change in policy is a huge step in the right direction to closing the skills gap in the engineering sector, which has slowly grown over the past few years according to figures from The Open University.
Jan Kowal, Programme Director for Design and Engineering at The Open University, said the move by the Government will finally bring more skilled youngsters into the STEM industry and further boost the economy.
She pointed to a number of recent surveys highlighting a skills shortage in the engineering sector, and suggested the financial support should make the sector more appealing.
It should also ensure that there are enough skilled engineers to meet demand in the industry, equipped with the abilities required in the world of work.

Boosting the sector and the economy

By relaxing the rules surrounding tuition fee support, it is hoped it will bring a wide range of individuals – both graduates and experienced professionals – into the industry and further boost the economy.
Alison Bettley, Associate Dean (Curriculum and Qualification) at The Open University, said the change will benefit graduates who have already undertaken a previous degree to gain an additional qualification, while also helping those already in employment build on their skills and experience.
By ensuring both experienced professionals and new graduates are able to receive this funding support, it should be possible to diversify workforces further in the STEM sectors.

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