Students at Heriot-Watt University are boosting their chances of gaining employment thanks to the launch of a practical skills-based initiative.
Students are the innovators of the future but the jobs market is an increasingly challenging one...universities must create a curriculum that best meets their needs
Fourth year Mechanical Engineering students are taking advantage of a bespoke, 12-week work placement programme created by the University's Engineering Design course leader, Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez.
The programme has been designed to provide undergraduates with the necessary skills, experiences and understanding of the everyday working environment, through the opportunity to work with businesses within their chosen industry and experience real life research and development situations, which will better prepare them for interviews and employment.
Dr Torres-Sanchez said, "These students are the innovators of the future but the jobs market is an increasingly challenging one and it is the responsibility of universities to create a curriculum that best meets their needs.
"However, it is the also responsibility of students to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to them and this initiative has been both well received and enthusiastically responded to. I am confident that this initiative will benefit our students when it comes to gaining employment and that other businesses will see how they too could benefit from getting involved next year."
This is an exciting opportunity for students to get an early insight into what business pressures exist to allow commercial success for medium to small companies
The key objective of the scheme is to boost each individual's chance of standing out from the growing crowd of applicants and to increase their appeal to potential employers. In addition, the University will profit from the establishment of strong working relationships with businesses in Scotland, which support its pioneering approach to shared learning and knowledge transfer.
A dozen Scottish companies are already on board. They will benefit from the provision of viable research and design projects from innovative and enthusiastic students, which support their business projection and potential company growth as well as to add weight to their brand reputation within their industry sector.
Hugh Gill, Chief Technical Officer at Touch Bionics, a Livingston-based medical technology company and one of the first to sign up to the initiative, said: "This is an exciting opportunity for students to get an early insight into what business pressures exist to allow commercial success for medium to small companies.
"Innovation is the key to commercial success and I feel the team working on the Touch Bionics project are gaining a diversified insight into some of the technical challenges we face and how we need to step up the creative thinking process.
"In gaining first-hand experience into what drives business, these students will have a much better grasp of what their future employees will require."