Masterminding a different way to educate a new generation of engineers can’t be done in a vacuum! So NMiTE (Herefordshire’s new engineering university) has adopted a rigorous approach to working with schools, students and the engineering industry to make sure our curriculum delivers world-class, employment-ready graduates.
Now we’ve reached the stage of testing our proposition with potential students – we’ve developed something unique – will they “get it” and more importantly, will they come? It’s one of the assurances we need to be able to give the Government as part of the detailed analysis we are developing with Herefordshire Council for the Treasury Green Book business case, needed to secure promised Government funding.
Well, the good news is – YES! We’ve completed research with A Level students at schools across a wide geographic area and at 12 of the schools we organised focus groups with Year 12 STEM and Humanities students. Results showed a keen interest from at least one in eight, with more than 40% agree that NMiTE’s approach is more attractive than a traditional engineering degree course. Given a list that included NMiTE alongside 14 Russell Group universities, 15% said they would include NMiTE in their top five UCAS choices. Of the factors affecting their likelihood to apply to a completely new university, ‘improved job prospects’ was crucial.
There’s more work to be done to further analyse their reactions to the detail of our offer, but the high level results are encouraging. Students particularly welcome the close involvement of employers, our focus on employability skills and our pioneering teaching approach. It’s emerged that the biggest factor influencing their decision to attend a brand new university such as ours will be the course recognition by employers – endorsement which has always been a key part of NMiTE’s objectives.