Industry works together to boost engineering student numbers

Posted on 16 May 2008 by The Manufacturer

A new industry initiative to help combat the skills shortfall in electrical and electronic engineering was launched today, as engineering graduate numbers hit crisis point.

Industry leaders Siemens Automation & Drives, Control Techniques, Parker SSD, Cummins Generator Technologies, GE Aviation and Converteam, working in conjunction with Newcastle and Nottingham Universities, and facilitated by the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET), have today launched the E3 Academy.

With the number of engineering students continuing to fall – from over 11 per cent in 1998 to just seven per cent in 2007 – the Academy’s mission is to encourage more students to choose engineering related degree courses. It will provide a comprehensive company-based support package during the students’ years of study, valuable practical experience and knowledge, and an attractive career path after graduation.

The scheme is initially operating through Nottingham and Newcastle Universities, but the Academy hopes to increase the number of participating universities. Students who are accepted as part of the E3 Academy intake at these institutions, will receive an annual bursary of £2,500, eight weeks paid summer vacation training, places on summer schools, reimbursement of tuition fees after graduation and employment with one of the Academy partner companies.

It is a significant step for an industry unified by the need to attract and train the next generation of top quality engineers, those who will assure its continuation as a global centre of excellence. Companies interesting in taking part in the scheme, as it expands, are asked to contact the E3 Academy: 07796 660280 or e-mail: [email protected]

The E3 Academy is entirely self-financing, its partners contributing an annual membership fee to help fund its work. The courses available through the E3 Academy will allow students to study electrical engineering, control and automation in many key UK industry sectors, ranging from aerospace, automotive, marine, industrial manufacturing, renewable energies, process and utility industries.

Professor Paul Acarnley, manager of the E3 Academy, comments: “It is vital for the future of UK industry that we try to reverse the dwindling numbers of young people who are opting to make engineering their chosen career. If we do not halt the decline in engineering graduates, this country will face a real problem if we are to hold our own on an increasingly competitive global stage. That is how serious the work of the Academy is and why we are fully supported by leading organisations such as the CBI.”

Bob Owen, a chartered electrical engineer, from partner company Siemens Automation & Drives said: “The work of the E3 Academy can play a central role in the future health of our manufacturing and engineering capability. This country has always been at the forefront of electrical and electronic innovation and everyone must play their part in encouraging new generations to view such a career as stimulating, relevant and rewarding. The E3 Academy can set students on this road.”