Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, has met with students and staff at Heriot-Watt’s newly refurbished Chemical Engineering laboratory.
The visit followed her attendance at the Scottish Funding Council’s Outcome Agreements launch, held at the University’s James Watt Conference Centre.
Accompanied by Acting Principal Professor Julian Jones, Chair of Court Frances Cairncross, Deputy Principal Professor John Sawkins, Director of Planning Richard McGookin, Colette Filippi, Associate Principal at Forth Valley College and Steven Boyle, of Ineos Chemicals, the Cabinet Secretary spoke with staff, students and graduates related to the Engineers of the Future project.
This ground breaking five-year company-sponsored programme has been designed with industry in mind, combining practical skills, work experience and academic study to Masters Level.
It has been developed as a result of an award winning partnership between Forth Valley College, Heriot-Watt University and industry partner INEOS, and the partnership has now also been boosted by linking up with Adam Smith College and other industry employers.
Together the partners offer a flexible Masters degree model which integrates a Modern Apprenticeship, industry based learning and traditional study, providing Engineers of the Future who are fully competent and industry aware technicians and professionally qualified engineers.
Cabinet Secretary Angela Constance said, “I was delighted to meet the students from the Engineers of the Future programme and hear how the university has developed the partnership with Forth Valley College and INEOS to give students a more flexible model for learning. It is an excellent example of how we can offer a more varied path through education than was available in the past, combining a Modern Apprenticeship, work experience and academic study to deliver a Masters-level degree.
“The students I met were enthusiastic about their course and obviously had a huge appetite for the skills and experience that they have access to beyond the lecture hall. I wish all every success and am sure that many more following in their footsteps will showcase our engineering talent and impress employers.”
Earlier, welcoming the Cabinet Secretary to the Scottish Funding Council’s event, Professor Jones said that Outcome Agreements have provided a fresh opportunity for universities and colleges to demonstrate their enormous contributions to the economy, society and culture of Scotland. “Examples from our own positive engagement with the Outcome Agreement process include a step-change in access to the University from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Scotland, from between 15% and 20% of our undergraduate intake from SIMD40 only a few years ago, to almost 30%, in excess of 300 students, this year. We have established effective and efficient new articulation pathways with a number of colleges, and we continue to develop relations purposefully and systematically with a group of partner colleges.”