Representatives from industry and academia have concluded that stronger collaboration is needed between higher education and the commercial engineering sector.
The event, held at the IET in London, also examined whether graduates were learning the right skills at university in preparation for commercial careers – something which many in industry felt was not the case.
The forum, organised by MathWorks, featured representatives from many of the UK’s leading engineering companies and universities, including Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce and the University of Cambridge.
Issues discussed included how greater collaboration between higher education and industries such as aerospace and automotive is needed to prepare students for the real world challenges of a commercial career, and how universities can accommodate industry-standard skills such as model-based design into the current curriculum.
“It’s very difficult for us to find sufficient graduate level engineers with the right skills and experience, and as a result, 60-70 per cent of our graduate intake requires training of some sort,” highlighted Andrew Richardson, head of Simulation at Jaguar Land Rover. "We’re addressing this by working with a number of universities to roll out our TAS (Technical Accreditation Scheme) Masters qualification, but there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.”
“Open dialogue is critical to successful collaboration,” added Professor Dame Ann Dowling from the University of Cambridge. “While higher education needs to prepare students for the commercial realities of a job outside academia, industry must commit relevant resources to universities, making new product releases and code available for academic use and research, and in a way that is cost-effective. We need to continually evolve new ways of interacting and collaborating.”