The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) has launched a website with resources to support engineering employers, professionals and educators to work more closely together. The project is to help tackle a projected shortfall in engineering skills in the UK and enable industry employers to generate up to £22 billion per year from 2022.
The engineering>workwith website has been developed as an ‘active central hub’ following the recommendation of the 2013 Perkins’ Review Task and Finish group for Higher Education and Employment. This approach allows users to share good practice and case studies. The review set out to deliver a call to action to engineering employers, professional bodies, educators and government to increase the supply and quality of engineering skills.
Funded by BIS (now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) NCUB developed the engineering>workwith site uses content such as filmed student interviews, research, and business legislation. It features advice, including how to mentor engineering students; downloadable resources, such as internship contracts; and case studies. Success stories and best practice have been carefully sourced to ensure a disciplinary and geographical range. The website also provides a ‘connect function’ which provides the contact details for the right people at all universities in a given radius of the users’ current location or supplied postcode.
Launched as a beta site, rather than a finished product, the developers will continue working with professional bodies, employers and universities to build on the site’s content and ensure it is useful. They are seeking feedback and suggestions for additional information sources, which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the site is available here
On an international level, a recent study has been carried out among businesses and universities on the cooperation between higher education institutions and public and private organisations in Europe. The wide-ranging survey was commissioned by the European Commission because of the positive impact that collaboration between businesses and universities can have on business innovation and skills as well as university engagement and student employability. The study, which has now closed for submissions, involved over 3,500 universities and 1,000 businesses and its results will help inform appropriate policy making aimed at improving future partnerships between higher education institutions and external organisations.