Herefordshire companies set to benefit from new university's first crop of highly skilled employees

Hereford's university will plant the seeds for a crop of highly skilled young workers.

Karen Usher.

First published in News
Last updated

COUNTY companies could be the first to benefit from courses offered by the proposed University of Hereford.

Project leader Karen Usher outlines how it will work with and for those companies.

Manufacturing in 2050, according to the Government Office for Science, will look very different from today and will be virtually unrecognisable from that of 30 years ago.

Successful firms will be capable of adapting their physical and intellectual infrastructures to exploit changes as manufacturing becomes faster, more personalised and more responsive to changing global markets.

Successful companies will also harness a wider interdisciplinary social and science skills base with highly qualified employees and managers whose expertise combines both commercial and technical acumen, typically in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The new university will open its doors in 2017 with some specialist courses planned for as soon as autumn 2015. It is being designed to help Herefordshire's engineering and technical businesses meet those challenges, and will be focused on applied engineering, applied science, and the technologies of sustainability.

It plans to prepare work-ready, high performers for Herefordshire and for global markets. The university is being designed to supply graduates skilled in applying modern science and engineering knowledge.

The core focus will be business sectors vital to Herefordshire’s economy notably defence and security, agri science, food science, specialist technical design, advanced manufacturing and green technologies.

As a liberal sciences university, the intent is to deliver future employees and managers with an entrepreneurial flair for business; a toolkit of innovative interdisciplinary problem solving skills; a profound understanding of how humans behave and an ability to communicate across cultures.

First year students will follow a general sciences course and be introduced to the tools and methodologies from a wide range of science and engineering disciplines.

All students, from the first year onwards, will be required to solve real-world problems provided by the university’s local and national business partners. This approach will mean students will have a high volume of contact time with tutors because much of the teaching will be “experiential”.

Front and centre to this will be the employability and work readiness of the graduates. This will be achieved by a mandatory cross-curriculum in human interaction that platforms each student with a fundamental understanding of the social and ethical context of their core studies; critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, entrepreneurship and analytical skills; the ability to communicate persuasively at all levels, across all cultures and work readiness skills that support rapid productivity.

In addition all students will be required to complete a minimum six-month work placement integrated into their learning programme.

It will primarily be a teaching university and will reward the faculty for quality teaching rather than research, creating a culture where lateral thinking and innovation is rewarded and applauded and where collaboration rather than competition is celebrated. Our success will be measured by the number of employers which return, year on year, to recruit our graduates, and notwithstanding the primacy of teaching, applied research will be essential to the operation.

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