Siemens and leading qualifications body OCR have launched a new partnership designed to tackle the skills gap in engineering and manufacturing.
The partnership, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will focus on the development of joint education resources for 14-16 year olds. Siemens and OCR will together deliver a curriculum in schools designed to increase the skills of prospective engineers.
The curriculum will be taught by teachers across the UK to deliver a range of units from the Cambridge National in Engineering Level 1/2 qualification.
The modules taught in classrooms will provide teachers with a structured plan to teach students how a range of topics work together across the syllabus. This will give 14-16 year old learners an understanding of how skills and knowledge could link together in a working environment. The skills developed will provide foundation knowledge for students’ final assessment.
Starting from this autumn, the new programme will be available to every school in the country. The approach to engaging with students will be centred on applying knowledge in areas such as science, technology engineering and mathematics to real life projects.
Modules in the joint programme include an energy recovery project exploring the technologies being used to improve the efficiency and lower the running costs of a range of vehicles including trains, buses and Formula 1 cars.
Further modules include a SMART homes project exploring the design challenges of creating a low carbon home – providing a strong link with an environment important to all students. In a manufacturing module students are asked to produce a model of a flywheel from specification and to then develop a manufacturing plan to mass produce it across the UK.
The Powering the Future project explores the engineering principles of UK power networks and looks at how the businesses involved keep the country moving. The project inspires learners to use IT to learn about physics, electronics, mathematics, business structure, systems design, branding, media skills and financial strategy in the context of an essential resource.
The new education scheme for engineers has been developed by Siemens and OCR in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, Department of Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Lord Baker, chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust said: “I warmly welcome the Siemens/OCR employer skills partnership for 14-16 year olds. All children should have the opportunity to learn by doing as well as studying. This will lead to a growing demand for education from 14 onwards. This is what our education system and our economy needs.”
Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director, Siemens plc commented: “The Institute of Engineering Technology recently found that 76 per cent of employers reported problems with recruiting senior engineers with five to 10 years’ experience, up from 48 per cent in 2011.
“So we need to tackle the skills problem urgently by creating new and innovative partnerships, which is what we have sought to achieve with OCR. As a sector we must pull every lever to get the skills and talent pipeline moving again. It is vital for the future of young people, but also we know that a highly skilled economy also attracts inward investment, which is critical for sustainable growth.”
Mark Dawe, chief executive of OCR, added: “Siemens and OCR together know how to promote and enthuse science and engineering in schools. We will use real life applications to explain the science and technology behind projects such as wind turbines, scanner and trains. We also look forward to engaging employers to use their expert knowledge to deliver education material directly to students.”