Midlands' companies have benefited massively from the University of Warwick's engineering Partnership Degrees which enables companies to attract bright young trainee engineers and train them to degree standard while doing useful work in the company. Now the University is to open up the degree, not just to other large engineering concerns, - but also to small and medium sized companies.
The trainees learn by a mix of concentrated sessions on campus (spending only 10 to 11 weeks a year at University) and company projects that produce useful real work from day 1 of their employment. The degree is also accredited by the IEE for chartered engineer status. In his inaugural speech as IEE president, Professor Midwinter praised the Warwick degree, noting that:
"There is already a shortfall in numbers of engineering undergraduates" and he recommended "collaboration between university and industry backed by student stipends from the company". He sited Warwick's partnership degree developed with Marconi as "particularly interesting and far more radical variant of my own proposal" which involves employers "even more directly".
Warwick has piloted 2 successful partnership degrees both of which have become major programmes - Electronics & Communication Technologies with Marconi, and Engineering Manufacturing & Management with students from BMW, Land Rover & MG Rover. The programmes have won much praise & Warwick is now opening them up to other companies. Those praising the programmes include:
Frank Haydon, then at Rover and BMW, said: "Partnership degrees give companies an engineer who is numerate, articulate, competent and effective in the business of the company"
Chris Poole, from Cosworth Technology Limited who said: "The partnership degree has been devised to extend the student's personal understanding, confidence and - engineering organisations reward such professional practice and qualifications with further development and promotion, recognising the enormous value it brings to their business".
The students themselves benefit from the programme by being able to study for their degree while earning a real salary for doing a real job of work. Quotes from them now follow.
Lee Bullock graduated in 1997 and is now a Vibration and Comfort Project Engineer at Land Rover, he said: "We were helped in our academic understanding by seeing it applied in real life situations."
Thomas Bradford, (graduated summer 2000) is now a BMW Group planning engineer, he said: "The Partnership Degree has directly benefited me - some of the content I thought least useful during the course I now find myself having to apply to the real industrial world most often. The degree has definitely had a positive influence on my career. I bring to BMW three years of industrial experience and a highly regarded engineering degree, which is something very few graduates can say. Within the company this is looked upon favourably, boosting my future career prospects."
Current Partnership degree student Daniel Lay, an engineering apprentice, at BMW Group in Oxford says: "The Partnership Degree enables me to work for BMW on "Real-life" projects adding value to the departments I work in. I gain practical industrial experience and can put into practice the academic knowledge gained through university. To cap it all off I earn a healthy salary which relieves the financial burden that studying at University can bring."
Daniel's placement manager, Ed Moss Quality Manager in BMW Group said: "Partnership Degree" apprentices are extremely valuable assets to the company as they are able to work independently or within teams on projects unassisted. They quickly mature within the industrial environment."
For further information please contact:
For the BEng Engineering Manufacturing & Management: Emma Rushforth Tel: 024 76-523245, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the BEng Electronics and Communication Technologies. Evor Hines: Tel: 024 76-523246, email: Elh@eng.warwick.ac.uk
More information is available at these web sites: