Full house on the factory floor

Posted on 8 Sep 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), a £32m joint collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing, has exceeded the number of applications it had expected with interest coming from all over the country for its three-year BEng and four-year MEng courses.

Senior management at the UK’s first Faculty on the Factory Floor said they have passed their first year target and believe it’s a further indicator of the sector’s growing popularity and the desire from undergraduates to participate in activity-led learning that gives them real-world manufacturing experience.

“This is a fantastic first response to what we are looking to achieve at AME and shows that we’ve certainly got the student world excited,” explained Wendy Garner, associate head of Mechanical, Automotive and Manufacturing at Coventry University.

“Our courses have been designed to meet industry’s need for graduates that can have an immediate impact on the shopfloor and also help to ensure our students gain skills that accelerate their own career paths.”

She continued: “External construction work on the new 1700 square metre manufacturing hub is nearly complete and this will provide the focus for a lot of the activity and will house more than £2m of robotics, CNC tube manipulation machinery, metrology equipment and simulation software.

“The undergraduates will be learning on cutting-edge technology, not to mention working with Unipart engineers who have years of experience. It’s a real win-win situation for them.”

Studying at AME will be split into two 16-week semesters per academic year, with students focusing on specific industry disciplines and then working in teams to apply what they have learned to commercial shopfloor projects.

Over the course of the three years this will include manufacturing processes and materials, quality and metrology, advanced manufacturing and automation, design and sustainability and strategic management.

In the final year, they will have the choice to specialise in lean systems and production control or engineering materials and manufacturing technology.

“At the end of the degree they should be ready to apply and enter into employment either at Unipart or within the manufacturing supply chain. For those interested, we will also be operating a Masters course, which takes a further year to complete and will be suited to students looking to become a technology leader,” continued Wendy.

Charlie Bond from Kenilworth is among the first undergraduates heading to AME after he completed a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering at Warwickshire College.

The former Princethorpe College pupil is looking forward to putting the skills he has learned in the classroom to use on commercial manufacturing exercises and working on projects that could change the way powertrain systems are developed all over the world.

“I’ve always enjoyed making things and definitely want to try and make a career for myself in engineering and manufacturing.”

He went on to add: “I enjoy a more ‘hands-on’ approach to learning and this gives me the chance to use my practical skills in a number of different scenarios.

“The fact I can be part of a ‘UK first’ and will be learning from researchers, experienced lecturers and Unipart engineers were all major selling points, not to mention having access to the latest machines and technology.”

Charlie, who has just turned eighteen, concluded: “Studying at AME should also help me gain valuable shopfloor experience that a lot of other manufacturing and engineering graduates will only get after a year out.”

AME, which has received £7.9m of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), is also recruiting for ten postgraduates as part of its first year of activity.

For further information, please visit www.ame.co.uk or follow @ame_uk on twitter.

Join us for the Manufacturing Talent Challenge at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, London, February 24 2014.

Reasons to attend:

Discover what other manufactures are doing to ensure the skills gap is decreasing so that you can ensure your company is actively engaging with the next generation.

Learn how you can develop and create your own successful apprenticeships, under graduate and graduate schemes to ensure you have the highest quality of staff working within your company.

Explore how to create relationships with local schools and the local community to inspire the younger generation enticing them into manufacturing to ensure that you are creating a future workforce for you company.

Gain an understanding of what other sectors in the industry are doing to fulfill their own skills gap and apply this within your own business.