Lockheed Martin Fellow joins Uni of Surrey in skills gap venture

Posted on 7 Jan 2014 by Callum Bentley

A new position in academia for Lockheed Martin UK Fellow and industry professional, Steve Burnage will aim to strengthen the push for closing the dreaded manufacturing skills gap.

A proportion of Britain’s future engineers will benefit from stronger links with the industry and the private sector when Professor Burnage takes up the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences at the University of Surrey.

Professor Burnage, who is based at Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site, will lecture third and fourth year students at the university on a weekly basis across a range of different engineering design projects.

Associate Professor, Steve Burnage

“With a predicted shortfall of 1.8M engineers and scientists within the UK by 2020 we need to take every opportunity to plug emerging gaps within the industry,” Professor Burnage said.

“What better way to encourage and enthuse our next generation of engineering talent than to be involved in engineering research projects with a high-calibre university.”

LMUK Ampthill already has a strong relationship with the University of Surrey. The organisations recently partnered on a research and develpment programme to further strengthen the ceramic bonding on military armoured vehicles to make them more resistant to attack.

Several students from the university also benefited from internships with the global security and defence company as a part of a corporate initiative to encourage young engineers onto its graduate training programme once they left university.

Professor Julie Yeomans of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences said: “Having Professor Burnage working with us is a tremendous asset for students, researchers and academic staff alike. He has a wealth of expertise and experience, and is a great communicator, giving a valuable insight into the practical aspects and current applications of engineering.”

Leveraging its influence in UK manufacturing, LMUK is a strong advocate for plugging the UK’s talent shortfall by working closely with young people in a variety of ways. Recently, interns and graduates at the Ampthill site teamed up with the University of Hertfordshire to design and build the 24 Volt Car, powered completely by batteries, which won fourth place at the prestigious Goodwood Green Power Finals in October.

Professor Burnage added “We are extremely active in reaching out to universities and the community to attract young people interested in engineering and science into a worthwhile career within the industry. We need to sow the seeds of interest in the challenges of engineering and partnering with the University of Surrey is just one example of the work that we are doing to bolster the supply of STEM professionals.”