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Industry links with education to inspire engineers of tomorrow

15 November 2013

Following the publication of the Perkins Review (4 November 2013), a major analysis of the engineering skills in the UK, the Government is now calling employers, educators and professional bodies to act now.

The new University Technical Colleges are just one way in which industry leaders and employers are able to proactively address the skills shortage. The UTCs offers 14-18 year olds the opportunity to take a technically-oriented course of study that combines practical, hands on experience with national curriculum.

However, it is the UTC’s relationship with its Industry Partners that could really inspire young people into looking again at Engineering.

Wigan UTC Academy is one of the more recently opened UTCs and specialises in a technical curriculum of manufacturing engineering (food production), the green economy and environmental technology. Situated in the heart of the town, the academy is distinctive from the exterior as it features a state of the art glass fronted vertical farm. Named ‘The Factory’, the food production facility is highly visible from the high street and the vertical farm is the first in the UK.

Students have the opportunity to gain practical experience of working in the food supply market and develop engineering skills while maintaining the farm. 

Murrelektronik Ltd has linked with Wigan UTC Academy as an Employee Partner. Managing Director Peter Rogers explains why. “As an employer in UK Industry, Murrelektronik have struggled to find new, talented young people with the right mix of practical engineering skill and theoretical knowledge. Over the past two years we have expanded rapidly with vacancies opening up in Technical Engineering Support, Food & Beverage Key Account Management, System Consultants and Warehouse/logistics. Finding the right balance between practical on-the-job experience and recognised academic qualifications is getting harder and harder. The Academy’s programme addresses this issue in a refreshing way; students are challenged with a timetable which is very hands on.  In addition, the academy setting plays a very important role in motivating the students – it’s a very exciting environment for learning and the students have a real challenging task ahead as they make a success of the UK’s first vertical farm.”

Murrelektronik recently held practical sessions in the Murrelektronik Electronic Laboratory. Topics included 24v DC circuit protection, the latest Fieldbus system – Cube 20s and ACS labeling technology. Peter Rogers adds: "The feedback has been very encouraging and students show a genuine interest in engineering and manufacturing. Young people are having their eyes opened and perhaps now beginning to see the breadth of job opportunities and diverse roles within Engineering. This has to be good news for the UK industry and is very encouraging for employers such as Murrelektronik.”

Murrelektronik is one of the leading worldwide manufacturers of advanced technology in electrical engineering and electronics. With a diverse product range of over 30,000 individual products and components from the control cabinet, via the interface to passive or active in the field.

More and more UK industries are seeing the real benefits of sourcing everything for machine and plant installations from a single source. Benefits include real cost savings, large material availability and short delivery times. With a dedicated UK based technical support team plus sector specialists in Automotive, Food & Beverage and Warehouse/Logistics, Murrelektronik are firmly focused on providing quality made-in-Germany products with excellent customer service and expert industry knowledge.   

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