A GROUP of engineers from Siemens have just started studying on a specially designed course run by the University of Salford aimed at tackling critical skills shortages.
Designed in a partnership with Siemens to meet a growing skills gap in industry, the BEng (Hons) Control and Automation degree will have a flexible delivery model to suit industry needs and minimise time off the job. It includes content developed and delivered by Siemens, as well as expertise and knowledge provided by Salford academics.
The first cohort have now enrolled for this degree, which is being run as a block release to minimise disruption. Three of the 13 students are from Siemens customer base.
The course is being run as a pilot, but it is aimed to make it permanent as Salford and Siemens continue to strengthen their partnership. From next year the course can be offered as an apprenticeship to businesses across the sector and funded through the levy. The course will either be a CPD top-up degree for engineering professionals to upgrade their existing qualifications, or it will be embedded in to a degree apprenticeship programme.
Jason Phin, Training Solutions Business Manager at Siemens DF PD, based in Didsbury, South Manchester said: “We have looked at ways in which our apprentices can study through to degree level whilst also combining the academic content with industry relevant qualifications. This opportunity is now also available to non-apprentice engineering personnel looking to improve their academic status.
“This course should provide key skills beneficial to industry and mean that engineering teams from Siemens, our customers and suppliers can add more value to their business. It’s great that the course has been tailored to exactly suit what we, and hopefully other engineers are looking for.”
Jayne Parker, field service engineer at Siemens in Manchester, is part of the first cohort. She said: “I’m always keen to update my skills and move my career forward so this a great chance to do just that. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Dr Sam Grogan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience at the University of Salford, said: “This is a key part of the strategy for the University of Salford going forward. We want to work closely with businesses to co-develop courses that work to specifically target the needs of industry.
“It’s quite a novel approach to work so closely with an industry partner to develop the actual content of a course and this is a great example of an innovative learning model developed through our Industrial Collaboration Zone project.”