Top-up degrees for engineers: the latest innovation in professional training

Friday, October 31st, 2014

As the Financial Times reported in July, the UK is facing a threat to economic growth as a result of an engineering skills shortage. Research has found that six out of 10 engineering employers fear a growing shortage of engineers will threaten their business in the UK alone. So any way in which employers can improve the skills of the engineering workforce is of huge benefit. Top-up courses are the latest innovation in professional training aimed at addressing this shortage. An increasingly popular way to learn, a top-up degree in engineering management can benefit both employees and employers.

 What is a top-up degree?

A top-up degree in engineering management allows you to do exactly what its name suggests: to top-up your HND to an honours degree. An increasing number of these top-up courses are now available, purpose-designed for business, computing, engineering and technology students. A top-up engineering course typically takes between nine and twenty-three months of further study depending on what you achieved in your HND, what degree you want to do and what part-time courses are available.

Top-up engineering management courses are specifically designed to build upon students’ existing skills. A top-up degree in engineering allows students to gain honours-level qualifications without having to start a full degree course from scratch.

For those seeking to boost and certify their managerial skills, work-based top-up degrees use your own workplace experience as the basis of the degree syllabus. This means that you study topics that are of direct relevance and benefit to you and your career.


The benefits of a top-up degree in engineering management

There are a number of benefits to topping up a current HND qualification to a full honours degree. Students graduating from top-up engineering courses can benefit from:

  • Obtaining a higher education qualification – attaining a higher skill set is incredibly valuable for engineers across all engineering fields. As well as allowing students to specialise in particular engineering sectors or management, and boosting earnings power, a higher level of education improves confidence, opens up opportunities and provides exciting challenges for engineering students and professionals.
  •  Access to university support networks – those taking up top-up degrees in engineering benefit from the relationships forged while studying. Tutors and peers provide a valuable network of support both during and after study. Graduates of top-up engineering courses can count on an increased network of mentors to help them carry their careers forward.
  • Improved career opportunities – attaining a higher level of  skill opens up more job opportunities. New challenges, higher earnings, exciting projects – all are attainable with a top-up degree.
  • Reduced study costs – top-up degrees in engineering allow students to attain honours levels qualifications without the significant costs of a four+ year degree programme. In some cases, top-up engineering courses are heavily funded or sponsored by engineering firms keen to attract and train up the next generation to top engineering talent.
  • Potential to earn while you learn – an increasing number of top-up engineering courses are available as part-time study options. They allow working engineers to climb the educational ladder without having to give up their existing engineering career. Learning while they earn, study costs are reduced and knowledge learned in the classroom can be readily applied in the workplace.


Attracting professional students with a background in a range of engineering sectors, from mechanical to manufacturing, top-up engineering management courses have wide-reaching appeal. Training up a whole generation of engineers to a skill level that is so sorely needed in the UK and abroad, while providing a lower-cost, more flexible and practical way to study, top-up engineering management courses are a professional training innovation that looks set to grow and grow.

The University of Lincoln Work-Based Learning top-up degrees will help you achieve your career goals and obtain a qualification with a global focus. Find out more about the Lincoln WBDL programmes.


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