From dirty hands to hi-tech machinery… (1)

Engineering has been part of Grantham College for over 65 years from manufacturing, operational and maintenance and electrical instillation engineering with many different routes into the industry.

The courses on offer within Engineering are highly diverse and cross into a variety of areas within engineering which means that students don’t have to decide on a specialism at the start of their learning. A broad knowledge of engineering is taught at the start so students can make an informed decision of where they see their career going.

On joining an Engineering course students learn from a team of staff that have over 300 years of experience, knowledge and skills from their time working for the likes of Royals Royce, British Steel and Barfords. Staff have strong contacts within the engineering industry to enable students to gain valuable work experience, work placements and trips.

Students have the opportunity to use a wide variety of machinery within the department from the 3D printers, CNC routers, telehandlers, JCB, circuit boards and PLCs to name just a few. With technology moving at such a fast past the staff ensure that students’ knowledge is kept up to date along with new equipment being available to ensure they are ready whether it is onto higher education, an apprenticeship or into industry.

Students are taken on a variety of trips to expand their knowledge of the Engineering industry including visits to foundries, ABB Robotics, Power Stations, York Railway Museum and trade shows to help them decide which sector within the industry they’d like to be part of.

Students on Engineering courses are also offered the opportunity to go on a two week fully funded work experience placement to Arnsberg, Germany as part of the Leonardo Programme funded by the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme. Before students leave they are given basic German lessons to help them interact with the local people as the students undertake work placements within a wide variety of roles. Whilst undertaking their work placements students get to encounter how the industry is different to the UK, as well as putting into practise those skills talked about back in the classroom.

A large proportion of students in Engineering at Grantham College go on to apprenticeships within the sector which can be undertaken with Grantham College. The Engineering industry is highly supportive of education and employers look for good communicators who have a spark for learning new and innovative ways of resolving problems and working as a team.

Anglian Water has been sending their apprentices to Grantham College for six years with approximately 16 students per years completing their specialised Anglian Water apprenticeship with the college. Apprentices follow tailored units which Anglian Water would like them to complete as well as a standard BTEC in Engineering and City & Guilds at Level 2 award. Apprentices come from all over the country with those who are not local living in hall of residence at college.

Students in Engineering have gone on to a variety of careers including Sophie Paveling who is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with Coca Cola, Kevin Gilbert who has studied Engineering at Grantham College from being a young apprentice and is now doing his HND in Engineering whilst working at BGB Engineering in Grantham.

On completion of your Engineering course there are several paths available including university, apprenticeships and the world of work where electrical and electronic engineers can earn an average salary of £24k, chemical engineers just under £30k and a structural engineer can earn up to £43k. ( )

According to the Engineering UK 2014 report, overall demand for engineering and manufacturing recruits is up by 40% compared to June 2012. There are a number of areas where recruitment is on the increase including:

  • Aerospace – a global increase in air traffic means this industry is expected to grow at a rate of 6.8% over the next few years.
  • Automotive – there is a need for engineers that can design and manufacture innovative and high quality components.
  • Oil and gas – currently employing more than 400,000 people across the UK, a renewed interest in North Sea oil and shale gas production could create 74,000 jobs by 2030.
  • Nuclear – over the coming decades the industry is set for global expansion, including new nuclear reactors and decommissioning those that are coming off line.

Other growth areas include: renewable energy; finding sustainable ways to grow food, build houses and travel; and advances in medical technology for an ageing population. There is also an increasing need for research and development into use of automation and robotics to perform functions for us.

Over the next few years there will be 1.86 million vacancies that require engineering skills with 30,000 engineers needed within Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire over the next 5 years – could you be the next?