New engineering facility to address major skills gaps for ‘next industrial revolution’

A new £23 million facility dedicated to engineering teaching and research has been given the go-ahead at Nottingham Trent University.

The new facility will be based at the Clifton Campus, within the School of Science and Technology
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The new facility will be based at the Clifton Campus, within the School of Science and Technology

The development at the Clifton Campus comes after the university launched a new Department of Engineering and a range of innovative engineering courses designed in conjunction with major industry employers and experts.

Courses in biomedical, electronic, sport and mechanical engineering have been created specifically to meet the industry’s current skills gaps.

The facility, which will house these new courses, will also include the creation of a new ‘Institute of Industrial Digitalisation, Robotics and Automation’.

This will enable the university to play a lead role in providing a highly-skilled workforce equipped with the digital skills necessary for the major impending changes in industrial manufacturing, known as Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 – the move towards automation in manufacturing technologies – is expected to have a major impact upon a range of industries, which will require significantly enhanced workforce skills.

The new engineering building will include engineering laboratories, workshops and studios, with flexible learning and teaching spaces with specialist equipment, and facilities for commercial research and consultancy.

Part of the university’s School of Science and Technology, it is expected to be completed in time for the 2019-20 academic year.

“We want to create inspirational, state-of-the-art facilities that inspire staff and students and demonstrate our commitment to being a major player in the STEM education of engineers,” said Professor Mary O’Neill, the Dean of Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology.

She said: “This development will facilitate a culture of innovation and excellence to support project-based, industry-focused learning and highly-rated research.

“It will enable us to be at the heart of developments in the emerging ‘Industry 4.0’ agenda in terms of education and skills training, as well as knowledge transfer and knowledge development and research.

“The anticipated skills shortages represent a serious concern for major industries, and we want to play a lead role in training current and future workers with the digitalisation skills required for this arena, which is being called the next industrial revolution.”

Professor Neil Mansfield, Head of Engineering at Nottingham Trent University, added: “The UK needs a new generation of creative engineers to invent the future and that is what we aim to produce. With our new facilities we will give our researchers the tools they need to develop new technologies, and our students everything they need to learn how to engineer a better world. 

“Our building will provide both teaching and research space, and we look forward to working with business on real-world challenges.”

Stephanie Baxter, Skills and Education Lead at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “Careers in modern engineering are at the forefront of technical innovation and have the potential to make a huge contribution to increasing productivity in the UK. With many high value jobs being created through digitisation, we need more young people to see the exciting opportunities engineering presents.

“It’s fundamental however that educators and businesses now work together to ensure that the next generation of talent has the right practical and technical skills to meet future demand. It’s exciting to think that this new facility will be at the forefront of this work.”

Last year the university unveiled its new £11 million Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Centre (ISTeC) at the Clifton Campus.

That facility, dedicated to teaching and research, brings STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects together to support collaboration between different subject areas and between students and researchers.

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    • Nottingham Trent University was named University of the Year 2017 at the Times Higher Education Awards and Modern University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. The award recognises NTU for its strong student satisfaction, quality of teaching, overall student experience and engagement with employers.
    • Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been awarded the highest, gold, rating in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for its outstanding teaching and learning.
    • NTU is one of the largest UK universities with nearly 28,000 students and more than 3,500 staff across four campuses, contributing £496m to the UK economy every year. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly universities, containing some of the country’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.
    • The University is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable Nottingham Trent to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is the sixth biggest recruiter of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the country and 95.6% of its graduates go on to employment or further education within six months of leaving.
    • NTU is home to world-class research, winning The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 - the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula and combat food fraud.
    • With an international student population of approximately 2,600 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

New engineering facility to address major skills gaps for ‘next industrial revolution’

Published on 21 May 2018
  • Subject area: Computing, engineering, maths and other technologies
  • Category: Press office; School of Science and Technology

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