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New Degrees For Talented Engineers

A scheme that allows firms such as Marconi, BMW and Land Rover to put trainee engineers through a degree course is to be extended.

Small and medium sized companies in Coventry and Warwickshire will now be able to get involved with the University of Warwick's engineering Partnership Degrees.

They enable companies to attract bright young trainee engineers and train them to degree standard while doing useful work in the company at the same time.

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 their first day of employment.

The degree is also accredited by the IEE for chartered engineer status.

Warwick has piloted two successful partnership degrees, both of which have become major programmes: Electronics and Communication Technologies with Marconi, and Engineering Manufacturing and Management with students from BMW, Land Rover & MG Rover.

The programmes have won much praise and Warwick is now opening them up to other companies. 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, said:

"The partnership degree has been devised to extend the student's personal understanding and confidence.

“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.

Lee Bullock, who graduated in 1997 and is now a Vibration and Comfort Project Engineer at Land Rover, said:

"We were helped in our academic understanding by seeing it applied in real life situations.

Thomas Bradford, who graduated this summer and is now a BMW Group planning engineer, added:

“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.”
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CWN / Education / University of Warwick / 5 Dec 00

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