Engineering scholarships worth thousands of pounds have been left on the shelf because not enough school leavers want to study a degree in the troubled discipline, The Times Higher can reveal.
The UK's new Institution of Engineering and Technology, the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, this year offered £30,000 to help bright students who want to study engineering or technology at a UK university but who would not otherwise be in a position to go into higher education.
But the institution confirmed this week that it had been unable to award 21 of the 30 scholarships due to a shortage of applications.
Alf Roberts, chief executive of the IET, said: "A skills survey conducted by the IET shows that 40 per cent of businesses don't expect to meet their engineering and technician recruitment needs in the next four years. It is imperative that students seek the assistance available to help them."
He added that he was surprised take-up had been so low, given the introduction of top-up fees and the financial burden on students in general.
Funding Undergraduates to Study Engineering scholarships are worth £1,000 a year each, granted for the period of a masters or bachelors degree. Students can apply after completing the first year of A levels or on finishing their A-level exams before they go to university in autumn.