Brexit impact in Engineering Higher Education

europe-1456246_1280Updated 30/1/17

Assuming Theresa May is able to stick to her intended timetable (the first hurdle of which is to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017), the UK will cease to be a member of the EU in 2019.

The picture is getting clearer about what this may mean. In the meantime, there are far more questions than answers. So, to support its members, the EPC has tried to ask the questions that engineering in HE needs answered most urgently and to summarise what we know so far (if anything). Rather than repeat what you will no doubt have seen elsewhere, we have tried to focus specifically on concerns and opportunities for engineering in HE.

These questions are complex. Our answers have tried to be simple, but they may be simplistic. There may well be other questions that need asking and our answers will undoubtedly benefit from further comment.

We would be grateful if you would use the comments facility to pose further questions and share your own reflections, expertise and, in particular, real life experiences in relation to the issues raised.

 

How Brexit might affect UK students?

Will engineering students’ mobility be affected? For instance, will they still be able to participate in the Erasmus programme?

There is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ scheme, with guaranteed funds for applications in 2016 and 2017[i]. After that, however, a British exclusion from the scheme is, for the moment, highly likely[ii]. Other non-EU members – Norway and Switzerland – do have agreements to participate and the UK might broker a similar arrangement. However, there are costs to participating in the single market and both Norway and Switzerland pay a contribution to EU programmes on research and education. The Government has so far provided no indication that it would do the same.

Update 5/10/2016: A petition has been started to urge the Government to continue to participate in the Erasmus scheme after Brexit.

Update: 30/1/2017: In her speech Brexit on 17th January, Theresa May made it clear that she has no intention of ‘buying back’ into elements of EU membership. However, in the Q&A session in the Commons later the same day, she hinted that the UK might “pay into specific programmes” after all. On balance, it looks like she regards continued membership of the ERASMUS+ programme as something for the negotiating table and not one over which she will lose any sleep.

Will UK students be more inclined to study engineering abroad given the increasing costs of studying in the UK and potential damage to their international work prospects?

The increase in costs was a reality before Brexit with the rises in tuition fees in recent years. In other European countries (such as Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark), the tuition fees are, relatively speaking, extremely low compared to UK universities – sometimes they are even free – and many such courses are taught in English[iii]. Some data suggest there has been a rise in recent years in the number of UK students taking up these opportunities to study abroad, however the evidence is not conclusive.

Many international engineering companies, such as Rolls Royce, which have strong links with UK HE engineering departments and support high quality students’ placements, might consider developing their core business outside the UK. This could limit the number and quality of placements available in the future, and students might consider taking studies abroad in universities with stronger links with international companies.

However, if Brexit means UK students face higher fees to study abroad, they may be put off. They may choose to opt for UK courses even though the quality and range of placements may have been compromised.

Will international partnerships be affected? For example, will students be as able to do placements in international companies during their studies?

See above.

Will the employment prospects of UK engineering students be affected?

This will depend on the impact of Brexit on the wider economy and the engineering sector in particular. See below. (It also depends on the impact on the financial sector, which recruits a significant proportion of engineering graduates.)

Economic pressure hits the recruitment of entry-level staff first and hardest. Engineering firms may scale down recruitment or, in the case of larger businesses, they may move it to other European countries.

However, the skills shortages in engineering are such that engineering graduates may find their skills are still in sufficiently high demand to be largely unaffected by economic tides.

Since employment rates are to be used as a key metric for TEF, any impact on graduates may have significant repercussions for universities and academic departments too.

 

How Brexit might affect international students?

Will UK universities still be an attractive place to study engineering for international students?

Update 26/01/2017: in the light of May’s ‘Global Britain’ speech, delivered on the 17th January, there is a willingness to keep the UK as a “magnet for international talent”, and high-skilled immigration, whether to work or study, but with a strict control of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU. Free movement to Britain from Europe will not be guaranteed.

Beyond Erasmus (see above), there are no immediate changes planned to the funding of EU students studying in the UK. For now, the Government is saying that students who have started a course before August 2016 will have the eligibility for the duration of that course. There’s no word yet on what will happen in future[iv]. However, if EU nationals are in future treated on a par with other international students when it comes to fees, it would leave them facing far higher costs to study in the UK and they are unlikely to be entitled to student loans. It is hard to imagine how this could not act as a powerful disincentive.

Having said that, Brexit may offer new opportunities for non-EU students to study in the UK thanks to lower competition from their EU counterparts. The same may happen with non-EU staff[v], although some reports suggest that Brexit may mean that the UK is regarded in future by people from outside the UK – both EU and non-EU – as less tolerant and welcoming.

The current low value of the pound will make international fee levels relatively more affordable[vi], but conversely, it will also make salaries paid in sterling less attractive.

Update 5/10/2016: In her speech to the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced major new restrictions on international students coming to the UK to study. She is not waiting for Brexit before imposing these new rules.

The proposal includes limiting the availability of student visas to those accepted on to “high-quality” courses, but it is not clear how that would be determined. One suggestion is that high performance in the TEF may be used, but, since the discipline-level TEF is unlikely before 2019, that would mean that for the next few years all disciplines across an institution would have to be treated as equal for the purposes of student visas – which might be very bad news for engineering departments.

Another suggestion is that the Government would simply apply a prejudicial judgement of quality based on, for example, membership of the Russell Group. The Government’s argument is that these measures will preserve the quality of the education that the UK ‘exports’ by only allowing the best institutions to do so. However, given that the stated intention is to reduce absolute student immigration, the logic is flawed and the effect will be to drive down numbers not drive up standards.

Whatever the arguments, restrictions on international student numbers may be very damaging to UK engineering departments because of the loss of high-quality applicants, funding and international relationships. It will also impact on the UK skills shortage which will be exacerbated if the UK has to rely on a home-grown supply of engineering graduates.

Ms Rudd has said that there will be a consolation on the proposals. The EPC will examine them in detail and respond forcefully on behalf of UK engineering departments which attract far more international students than most UK HE courses.

Update 11/10/2016: The Department for Education has now confirmed that EU students applying for university places in England in 2017/18 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants, and entitled to home fee status for the duration of their course, even past the point that the UK leaves the EU.

Welsh Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has also confirmed that EU students applying for a place at a Welsh university for 2017/18 will continue to receive financial support.

Update 14/10/2016: The Scottish Government have also announced that EU students commencing their studies in 2017 will be entitled to complete their studies post-Brexit without a change in fees status.

Will students still be able to do placements in the UK as part of their studies?

The assumption has to be that, post-Brexit, European students would have to apply for a student visa like other foreign nationals, adding to the complexity and obstacles of studying in the UK and doing placements.

Theresa May’s track record on student visas when she was Home Secretary was that she regarded them as too easy a target for exploitation by illegal immigrants. There have been no announcements to suggest that she will be more sympathetic as PM.

 

How Brexit might affect courses in engineering disciplines?

Will UK engineering accreditation still have the same international recognition?

Currently, European recognition is possible across the European Union and the EEA (the European Economic area – the countries covered by agreements on free movement of people and trade)[vii] and international recognition outside Europe is guaranteed through the Engineering Council’s membership of the International Engineering Alliance[viii]. However, recognition of Professional Titles, and the right to work in the EU, can be denied if UK leaves EEA[ix].

In other words Brexit is unlikely to have any significant impact on the recognition of accreditation, but it will be worth keep a close watch.

 

How Brexit might affect academic staff in engineering (lecturers, researchers, other staff)?

How safe are the jobs of European staff at UK universities?

Update 26/01/2017: in the light of May’s ‘Global Britain’ speech, delivered on the 17th January, it is still unclear what the status of the EU staff already working in the UK will be, as stated in point 6 (Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU). However, free movement to Britain from Europe will not be guaranteed, in order to control immigration.

For now, there’s been no change to the rights and status of EU citizens working in the UK. Nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) can get a permanent residence card if they have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years[x].

For EU nationals who have been in the UK for less time than that, there are no guarantees, however key Brexit campaigners argued after before and after the Referendum that anyone legally resident in the UK before the Referendum should be given a right to remain. The Government has refused to commit to this, linking the issue to the right of British citizens currently in European countries to remain there.

Given skills shortages in the UK, even if there is no blanket agreement on EU nationals, it has to be supposed that academics in engineering would be well placed to be allowed to stay in the UK along with their families (if already resident here). Unmarried partners, however, may face a more awkward position.

How safe are the jobs of UK staff at European universities?

See above.

How will the recruitment and retention of staff from the European Union be affected?

On this question, there are no answers – only more questions. How will Brexit affect staff who have been living in the UK for less than 5 years (not eligible for a permanent resident card)? How will this affect new staff who come to the UK after the Referendum?

In the long term, the recruitment of EU staff will depend on the negotiations between UK and the European Union. At the heart of those negotiations will be whether the free movement of people can be uncoupled from access to trade freely with the EEA. If it cannot and the UK Government decides that access to the free market is a price worth paying for immigration control, then recruitment is likely to be restricted.[xi]

Academics and researchers in engineering will be regarded as more desirable immigrants than most, but even to have to talk in such terms illustrates the change that might take place.

Will British academics be as able to move to positions in European institutions?

That will depend on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, but unless an arrangement is made for the free movement of people, the process is likely to become more bureaucratic at the very least.

 

How Brexit might affect engineering research and innovation?

Will it be possible to secure ongoing research projects with European funds and European partners? And what are the risks for future research funding?

On the 13 of August 2016, Universities Minister Jo Johnson wrote an open letter to Madeleine Atkins (HEFCE President) to “reassure” the HE sector about the continuity of funding of Horizon 2020 projects[xii]. This was preceded by a Statement from BIS on the 28th June 2016 on higher education and research[xiii]. These announcements were prompted by a Treasury commitment made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond to guarantee EU funding beyond the date that the UK leaves the EU[xiv].

On the face of it, these commitments should be welcome news for the sector. However, in practice, they do not go very far. EU-funded research projects are almost always made to international consortia representing at least two EU nations. They are contractual arrangements setting out the term of the contract. Brexit should not normally affect the contract with a UK research partner as part of the consortium, even if they are the lead partner. There may be contractual provisions that, for example, state that the consortium partners must come from more than one EU nation. Brexit might then put the consortium in breach of the contract. Even then it is hard to see how the Treasury commitment might step in to protect the funding of a consortium that compromises non-UK partners.

The Treasury’s reassurance does not do anything to address the issues as reported to EPC by own members to the EPC – and by others to Scientists for EU[xv] and elsewhere – that suggest EU partners are more reticent about new research partnerships with UK universities or are even excluding UK partners from existing initiatives. Underwriting the funding for UK universities does not help non-UK partners and makes funding no easier to win.

Furthermore, the Treasury’s protection extends only to funding under Horizon 2020. In practice, that horizon is approaching fast and the period after Brexit has taken place and before funding is due to end anyway is not likely to be much more than a year anyway. The Treasury may have calculated that this is a commitment it can afford to make because it is unlikely ever to cost much, if indeed anything at all.

Nonetheless, it is comforting that The European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) has expressed its support for UK engineering research, reaffirming a commitment to cooperation initiatives with UK members[xvi].

What European funding options will be available after Brexit?

Update 26/01/2017: in the light of May’s ‘Global Britain’ speech, delivered on the 17th January, the UK will no longer be a member of the single market. A new trade agreement will be negotiated, and participation in some specific European programmes will be sought. Point 10 (The best place for science and innovation) raises some hope for science, research, and technology initiatives, as the PM welcomes an agreement to continue to collaborate with EU in science and innovation.

As with Erasmus (see above), Switzerland and Norway, which are not members of the EU, can apply for Horizon 2020 funding and will probably continue that arrangement with whatever funding scheme replaces it. To qualify for this support, those nations contribute financially to the EU’s research funding. Theresa May has ruled out “buying back” into the benefits of the EU in the past, but in the Q&A in the Commons following her speech, she hinted that the UK might “pay into specific programmes”.

However, from a political perspective, if the UK is making large payments to the EU in order to participate, it is hard to see that as consistent with May’s interpretation of voters’ intentions as expressed in the Referendum. Also, full participation in the Horizon 2020 programme – or any similar successor – relies heavily on freedom of movement (which Norway and Switzerland allow). Being seen to have banned free movement is clearly going to be a red line for May in negotiations.

This issue appears to be one that May hopes to resolve at the negotiating table and, probably, she regards the UK’s research excellence as a strong card to hold.

Particularly in the light of the Stern Review, will Brexit have an impact on REF?

Even with the Treasury’s protections (see above), in the absence of a new arrangement (like that with Norway or Switzerland), EU research funding to UK universities is likely to tail off around the same time that the next REF round is due. A Brexit-related fall in funding would create barriers to research competitiveness and would negatively impact the wider public research impact.

What will happen to the UK’s membership of non-EU European organisations?

UK to withdraw from Euratom

Update 27/01/2017 As well as triggering Article 50, the Brexit Bill before Parliament empowers the PM to withdraw from Euratom, the community that provides the basis for research into nuclear power. As this is not an EU body, it is unlikely the Government would seek this authority unless it intends to exercise it, which casts a worrying shadow over the future of fusion research in the UK and international collaborations which may prove critical for the future of energy trade and combatting climate change. Read more.

 

How Brexit might affect knowledge transfer in engineering?

Will collaborations with industry be affected and, if so, how?

Research collaborations need not be affected so long as the UK engineering sector itself remains economically healthy and competitive (see below).

It is even possible to argue that a reduction in EU research funding may encourage private sector to plug funding gaps because the research drives their own innovation (although the funding criteria would of course be quite different). However, the gap to be filled may open up only in the UK and, instead of supporting more research in Britain, larger industrial partners will look to what may be a more healthy research environment in EU universities.

In any case, most predictions for the economic health of the engineering sector post-Brexit are not encouraging. That might lead to shrinking business, falling recruitment and relocation of investment overseas.

Having said that, in order to stave off economic hardship, some of the larger, more resilient firms may decide to invest more heavily in research and innovation.  Whether they do so in the UK will depend on the value they place on the competitiveness of UK research. That in turn will be linked to engineering faculties’ ability to recruit and retain highly skilled researchers (which links back to the mobility of staff, see above).

Will there be impacts relating to patents?

The UK is a signatory to the European Patent Convention and this is separate to membership of the EU. At the moment there are no immediate changes regarding UK businesses’ ability to apply to the European Patent Office for patent protection[xvii].

 

How Brexit might affect the engineering sector as a whole?

Is it likely to become harder to meet engineering skills shortages?

There is a significant and recognised shortage of engineering skills in the UK and the UK HE system ameliorates this shortage for the wider economy by attracting students and staff who have desirable skills from other countries. The skills shortage is a reality and could be massively exacerbated with Brexit.

Will there be an impact on the sector’s international competitiveness?

The vast majority of experts, from academic economists to financial institutions, predicted before the Referendum that Brexit would be damaging to the UK economy. In particular, an exit from the EEA would make exports to the UK’s largest trading partners less competitive and imports from the EEA more expensive.

Since the Referendum, the economic signals have been mixed, but the general trends so far give little reason to believe that the predictions were wrong – and, of course, the UK is, for now, still in the EEA.

The value of the pound dropped heavily immediately after the Referendum which has given a boost to the UK’s export economy. However, this is unlikely to be a long-term effect, because the currency value is a self-limiting mechanism: sterling will strengthen again if its low value boosts the UK economy. Indeed, it has already rallied in the absence of an immediate economic post-referendum meltdown.

Any economic downturn may hit the engineering sector especially badly. Some areas of engineering rely heavily on European exports (eg the automotive industry) or on the major infrastructure projects that, over recent years, have received large-scale European funding. Engineering is a global industry and so many firms will find it relatively easy to move investment out of the UK if the conditions here are disadvantageous. Any economic hardship is likely to result in smaller R&D budgets and consequences for HE research partners.

The majority of the UK engineering sector, however, is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which will not be in a position to relocate or expand investment in the face of an economic downturn. They are likely to recruit less.

If so, what repercussions are there likely to be for engineering in HE?

On the negative side: loss of EU prospective students and staff; funding issues; damaging of European partnerships.

On the positive side: links between industry and universities may strengthen.

Other resources

Universities UK “Policy priorities to support universities to thrive post-exit” [February 2017] 

Universities UK has produced a briefing paper (PDF) which outlines the policy priorities the government should deliver. These priorities fall into three clear stages:

  1. Short-term transitional arrangements
  2. Exit negotiations
  3. Domestic policy change

 

 

Photograph: Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay
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The advantages of offering degree apprenticeships

240216_AMRC_101The University of Sheffield has been an early entrant to this new form of higher learning.

Its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre – AMRC with Boeing (which specialises in the research and development of better manufacturing processes and more efficient factory optimisation) has excellent relationships with businesses – both large multinationals (typified by Boeing) and also local SMEs. It has been delivering research and taught masters degrees since its inception almost two decades ago. For the past three years, the AMRC as part of the University of Sheffield has provided advanced and higher apprentice training, with an annual intake of 205 apprentices. Having identified a gap in manufacturing education at degree level, it has been able to take advantage of the government initiatives and funding around degree apprenticeships to develop its offer.

With a Further Education college partner, locally, the AMRC Training Centre already offered a Foundation degree and higher apprenticeship, but is now recruiting to the first year of its new Bachelors in Manufacturing programmes (BMan), designed to provide degree level apprenticeships in Manufacturing.  The BMan programme will run via day release over three years.  By teaching over 36 weeks a year, on one (long) day a week, and using a flipped classroom/blended learning approach, the curriculum has been designed to  deliver graduates of the standard that employers are expecting. Students will be able to study for a foundation degree in two years, a bachelor’s degree in three years or to master’s level over four years.

The employers say that the key benefits are that as well as being better engaged and loyal,

  • the students understand industry;
  • they know how to make things;
  • they have manufacturing skills;
  • they have an established work ethic.

In addition, they will have access to experts from the university and AMRC to support student projects and the apprentice levy and government support improves the financial viability, even for small companies.

From the students’ perspective, they get paid while they study, ‘earn while they learn’ and apply their academic learning in their own workplace through project work in their companies. The blended learning approach means that they will be able to do much of the learning in their own time, meaning that the time they spend in at university will focus on problem classes, laboratories and tutorials.

The university sees it as a flagship activity with a number of key advantages:

  • It enables the university to cover the full post-16 to PhD spectrum of education in manufacturing, with industry engagement at every stage;
  • It enables the university to apply its standards and educational experience to widen the number and diversity of people studying engineering.
  • It allows the university to better engage with the region, its local manufacturing base and the rest of the world to provide an additional pipeline of well-qualified, graduate engineers.

 

With thanks to Professor Stephen Beck, Head of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education, University of Sheffield

Challenges of introducing and designing new engineering programmes…

career ladder shutterstock_132002219

Grant Campbell and Daniel Belton at the University of Huddersfield have just published this useful paper about introducing a new programme in a high cost subject at a time of constrained resources but high demand…The full paper may be downloaded here.

Abstract: The rise in popularity of chemical engineering among students entering university has prompted expansion of the UK provision, through increased intake into current degree programmes and with the rise of new providers. The former entails logistical challenges of processing larger numbers through existing infrastructures whilst maintaining the student experience. The latter entails challenges of designing and introducing programmes that build harmoniously on existing non-chemical engineering provision, within the constraints of university validation procedures and physical resources, and in the face of uncertainty around student and staff recruitment, while aspiring to implement best practice in chemical engineering content and pedagogy. Following a review of the UK chemical engineering landscape and a critique of literature guidance on the appropriate content of chemical engineering curricula, this paper illustrates the issues of new programme development through the approaches and experiences of a new provider, the University of Huddersfield, which introduced new chemical engineering programmes from academic year 2013/14. The paper addresses specifying the content of chemical engineering programmes to align with accreditation requirements and literature advice while maintaining distinctiveness. The constraints imposed by the need to specify and validate courses internally and to minimise substantive programme changes subsequently, whilst responding to the opportunities that arise as staff are recruited and to external developments and unplanned incidents, are highlighted and illustrated, in order to draw lessons that might help to guide other new entrants.

GEDC Airbus Diversity Award 2016

Airbus diversity awards

The Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) Airbus Diversity Award is sponsored by Airbus and aims to encourage and acknowledge work that inspires students of all profiles and backgrounds to study and succeed in engineering.

The closing date for applications is 30th June 2016

 

 

You can download the application form and brief for candidates here.

For questions, please contact info@gedcairbusdiversityaward.com

A plethora of publications…

Wakeham reportThe much-anticipated Wakeham and Shadbolt Reviews were published this week (16th May) alongside the Higher Education White Paper giving the sector much to chew over.

Sir William Wakeham, this year’s EPC President’s Prize recipient and newest EPC Patron, had provided a “sneak preview” of the report at our AGM in April.  You can read the full report here, but the recommendations were, in summary:

 

 

Recommendation 1 – Biological Sciences

Further targeted work is needed to explore in more detail the reasons for the relatively poor employment outcomes of Biological Sciences graduates and to set out solutions for improving these outcomes.

Recommendation 2 – Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences

Further work is needed to unpick and explore the nature of, and reasons for the relatively poor employment outcomes of graduates from Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences (EMES) degree programmes. Where clear problems are identified for particular disciplines within the EMES group, solutions should be proposed for improving outcomes.

Recommendation 3 – Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Food Sciences

Further targeted work is needed to explore the current employment outcomes for graduates in these disciplines across the whole of the set of businesses in the agricultural food chain. The existing data is not sufficiently detailed to allow certainty about the situation now and the pace of change in the industry is likely to place new pressures on both HE and the industry to match demand with the supply of appropriately skilled graduates. The study therefore needs to include consideration of the future as well as the past.

Recommendation 4 – Additional STEM disciplines of concern

Further targeted work is needed to explore the graduate employment outcomes of Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Design graduates.

Within all three disciplines the respective industry bodies, HE providers and professional bodies for those disciplines should work together to clarify the nature of their graduate employment outcomes and decide whether specific measures are required to address the concerns we have identified.

Recommendation 5 – Increased engagement between industry and HE providers

Employers and HE providers should work more closely together in order to improve graduate employment outcomes. In particular, they should consider addressing the following areas:

  • Improving the opportunities for students to take up work experience and to maintain its quality
  • Embedding the development of soft skills into degree courses and improving work readiness
  • Better matching degree courses to employer demand for skills
  • Improving STEM careers advice and awareness of job opportunities for graduates and students, as well as even earlier in the education pipeline

Recommendation 6 – Improvements to data on graduate employment outcomes

There are opportunities to enhance the richness, quality and consistency of data available on STEM graduate employment outcomes. Ideally it should be possible for analysis of student lows from particular HE disciplines into specific sectors of employment to better recognise the type of degree and reflect upon relevant features of their degree programme. Where appropriate this should align with HESA’s existing work to review graduate destinations and outcomes data. It should also extend beyond student data collections with the ambition that information collected from employers and their representative bodies can be available for scrutiny in an accessible and comparable form.

Recommendation 7 – Accreditation

Good practice from existing, well-established systems of degree course accreditation should be highlighted and disseminated where it may be of interest to those STEM disciplines without an accreditation framework or where an accreditation framework is emerging. Potentially the Science Council should explore a future role in developing and overseeing a unified accreditation framework for the science disciplines that draws upon the experience of both the Engineering Council and those science disciplines where there are already well-established accreditation systems.

 

The EPC has, of course, been working for some time with a range of sector bodies to address recommendation 5 in particular.  Most recently, we have been working closely with the National Centre for Universities and Business on its “engineering workwith” hub of information for employers which it plans to launch in June.  Members have been very generous with their time and experience to contribute to this important project.  Other projects include our Engineering Education and Employability committee’s work on good practice in provision of contextual learning (which relates to Recommendation 7) and a toolkit for development of degree apprenticeships, both of which we hope to launch soon.  If you want to know more, do please get in touch.

As we mentioned, the Shadbolt Review of Computer Sciences Degree Accreditation and Graduate Employability has also been published and you can read more about it in a post by the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing.

We’ll also be in touch with members shortly regarding the arrangements for responding to the two consultations arising from the HE White Paper: Success as a Knowledge Economy: a) implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework and b)  accelerated degree programmes and course switching.

EPC President speaking on BBC Look North

Acknowledgement: BBC Look North

Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) President, Professor Stephanie Haywood of the University of Hull, appeared on BBC’s Look North last week in a segment about Hull’s upcoming Amy Johnson Festival.

This year’s EPC Congress will be held in Hull to coincide with the Amy Johnson festival (itself linked to the city’s Freedom Festival), which will feature an exhibition (“Engineered: Renaissance mechanics to contemporary art”) of 12 replicas of Leonardo Da Vinci’s flight and wind machines.  Professor Haywood underlined the Festival’s importance in inspiring young people to study engineering and that while maths and physics were important, engineering needed a broad range of skills including design and creativity.  This year’s Congress theme “The Art of Engineering” will reflect this with speakers from both industry and HE discussing new curriculum developments amongst a host of other issues key to the future of engineering in UK HE.

Both members and non members can download the draft programme and book their places here.

 

University College London partners with Primary Engineer to bring Special Leaders Award to London Schools

 

16-04-05The Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London (UCL) is one of the EPC member organisations that has been working with Primary Engineer to run the Special Leaders Award programme.  It’s the first time it’s been run in London, bringing the world of research and work into the Capital’s schools through STEM Ambassadors and chartered engineers. It forms part of a wider programme to change attitudes to STEM careers and degrees through inspiring children at an early age, transforming teaching of these subjects, and building relationships between schools, universities and industry. By engaging with children at an early age, the programme aims to introduce STEM subjects and engineering as attractive options to pursue, change misperceptions around engineering, while encouraging a more diverse group of future engineers, helping break down the gender, racial and socio-economic stereotypes that persist.

The London Special Leaders Award asks 5-19 year olds to respond to the question: “If you were an Engineer in London, what would you do?” Through the exploration of engineering achievements and cutting-edge research and interviews with engineers in academia and industry from a broad range of fields, pupils are enabled to let their imaginations run free to design inventions that could change London, or, perhaps transform the entire world. Pupils will find a real-world challenge and propose their solution, writing a “pitch” letter to support their entry together with supporting materials including technical drawings.

The London Special Leaders Award programme has already attracted more than 1500 pupils aged 5-19 years olds from London schools. This is a wonderful opportunity for pupils to engage with real engineers at different stages of their studies, research or profession in academia and industry. The passion and active engagement of UCL Engineering STEM Ambassadors, undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as academic and research staff, during assemblies, workshops and interview sessions brings the programme to life, they are the best ambassadors for engineering. In particular, student’s act as role models to young people, inspiring them about STEM careers while highlighting the creative and humanitarian nature of engineering and its significance to society. Both UCL Engineering and Primary Engineer ensure that there is good gender and racial representation of students and staff engaging with pupils on the programme, sending a clear, consistent and strong message about the importance of a diverse talent pool that promotes creativity, ingenuity and innovative ideas. For students, supporting the programme helps them develop invaluable transferable skills and qualities, identifying effective ways of communicating their subject-specific knowledge in an accessible, straightforward and engaging manner to audiences of different ages and levels of prior understanding.

If you want to find out more about the London Special Leaders Award programme visit the following website: http://www.engineering.ucl.ac.uk/schools-engagement/event/london-special-leaders-award-2016/

If you want to find out more about Primary Engineer and its range of programmes visit the following website: http://www.primaryengineer.com

To find out about how you or your students can get involved email: info@primaryengineer.com

Dr. Elpida Makrygianni, UCL Engineering Education and Engagement

Engineering Professors’ Council President’s Prize 2016

2016 Sir William Wakeham and Prof Stephanie HaywoodOver 50 senior staff from university engineering departments across the UK gathered for the Engineering Professors’ Council’s Annual General Meeting yesterday (6th April, 2016) at Senate House, University of London at which they were privileged to hear from Sir William Wakeham on the topic of STEM employability.  Sir William is due to publish his Review of STEM Employability Skills later this month.

Sir William is pictured here with EPC President Professor Stephanie Haywood receiving the EPC’s President’s Prize, awarded biennially for services to engineering education.

Engineering UK: State of Engineering 2016

16-01 State of EngineeringEngineering UK has published its annual round-up of “the State of Engineering”.

Its three overriding messages are:

  • that engineering and skilled engineers make a significant contribution to the UK economy and its productivity as well as working towards mitigating the grand global challenges of climate change, ageing populations, food, clean water and energy;
  • that the UK at all levels of education does not have the current capacity or the required rate of growth needed to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers and technicians by 2022;
  • through concerted and co-ordinated action, the engineering community and employers in particular can make a demonstrable difference by working with schools and colleges to inspiring future generations to pursue relevant qualifications and go on to careers in engineering.

Despite continuing demand for HE engineering courses (against the context of higher education fees), it says that “the pool of those with level 4+ engineering qualifications (66,391), is still well below the annual projected shortage of 107,000.”  There’s a full round-up of the numbers to 2013/14 but look out for the EPC Members’ Portal data too which will include 2014/15 data later this month (February).

EPC members may download a complete copy at: http://epc.ac.uk/useful-policy-papers-and-other-publications/ or from the EngineeringUK website.

EPC December newsletter now available…

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