THE FIRST cohort of graduates from the UK wide ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’ have graduated from Coventry University.
A groundbreaking initiative to develop industry-ready engineers was pioneered by the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), a joint collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing.
It held a special ceremony in the Cathedral grounds to mark three years since its launch.
Seven graduates picked up their BEng degrees, including Alicia Prior, Daniel Davey, Daryl Eastgate, Daryl Obe, David Mordi, Joe Howe and Nick Hugill.
They have all secured employment, with five of them directly involved in industry for firms in the automotive, motorsport and metals sector.
Other students on the first cohort are continuing on to complete their Masters.
Professor Carl Perrin, director of the Institute for AME, said: “The institute is about industry and academia joining forces to train students in an environment that’s at the leading edge of manufacturing, right on the factory floor as it were.
“Our students are learning the skills they’ll need and, at the same time, they’re getting crucial experience in a professional environment that will boost their employability and allows them to hit the ground running when they get a job.
“It’s about productivity, too. From industry’s perspective, initiatives like this ensure graduates from AME have the right blend of skills and experience, so – before they even start – they’re already familiar with the shopfloor environment and how to apply their knowledge to it. It’s a win-win situation.
“Our final offer is making R&D more accessible to industry, and Coventry University has already benefitted from generating new IP that is being commercialised within engineering and manufacturing.
“This, in turn, has led to exciting partnerships with Aston Martin, Williams Advanced Engineering and a host of international universities.”
The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering is located on the Unipart Manufacturing site in Coventry and is housed in a 1700 sq metre purpose-built hub.
In addition to creating industry-ready graduates, AME also boasts a team of technology specialists and professors who are working together to develop new powertrain and energy transfer solutions for automotive, aerospace and renewables.
This has included over £7million of funded projects and already led to Unipart securing a new fuel rail project for the Ford Fox engine and the start of production on a lightweight exhaust system for Aston Martin.
Alicia Prior has celebrated achieving her degree by securing a position at Unipart Powertrain Applications in Coventry. The 21 year-old has enjoyed life at AME, including a two-month placement with a major US manufacturer in Indiana.
Alicia said: “It has been a fantastic experience, especially spending so much of it working on real time manufacturing projects…it reinforced the theory and allowed me to quickly apply it to situations I will find myself in the future.”
“I’m now part of a small team at UPA, supporting an advanced manufacturing engineer in their work. This is just the start; the longer-term aim is to become a project manager in industry.”
AME is now into its 4th cohort of students, which means that 100 young people are currently getting industry-ready at the UK’s first ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’.