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Engineering Gateways Practice Transfer Partnership

Adopter Case Study
University name: University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE)
Title(s) of programme(s) (with in brackets, the engineering discipline areas)
MSc Professional Engineering (Aerospace, Mechanical, Management, etc, as required)
Date when marketing began or is planned: March 2012
Date of first enrolment/planned enrolment: September 2012
Name of the lead faculty and/or department: Faculty of Environment and Technology, Department of
Engineering Design and Mathematics
Other faculties/departments involved: Faculty of Business and Law (Bristol Business School)
1. Reasons for becoming an adopter
Please provide: (up to 500 words)
What attracted your university to the programme?
Summary of the perceived key benefits
What attracted your university to the programme?
UWE has been expanding its work-based learning portfolio over the last few years, predominantly in the Health
Care sector. The concept is gaining ground in other sectors, and this faculty wants to utilise the concept for the
Engineering sector.
The Continuing Professional Development, Aerospace (CPDA) programme has been a successful activity - targeted
specifically at students working full time in industry - for over twenty years. As part of its development, work-based
learning was already under consideration when this Engineering Gateways programme opportunity became
available. The project funding has allowed further development beyond the Aerospace sector into other Advanced
Engineering activities.
Summary of the perceived key benefits
This Engineering Council-supported project provided the following opportunities:
i.
Targeting a greater breadth of employers across the Advanced Engineering sector (including SMEs),
providing a flexible award structure to meet their needs.
ii. Combining the development of the work-based learning (WBL) MSc activity with the CPDA awards has
expanded the concept into a “MSc Engineering Capability Framework”, under which a number of MSc,
PG Diploma and PG Certificate awards are placed.
The MSc Aerospace (CPDA) and MSc Professional Engineering (plus related PG Diplomas / Certificates) are two of
these awards. The Framework allows – actually, encourages – module sharing between awards. Whilst each
award requires completion of core modules, the remaining taught programme can be achieved from any other
module options within the Framework. Additionally, each module is offered as taught, distance learning or workbased learning. The MSc framework is targeted at employers rather than individual students. It allows employers to
find learning approaches which suit their organisations – they are then best placed to identify suitable candidates.
Employers are offered:
i.
Flexibility of provision (hence suitability for SMEs).
ii. Opportunity to mix and match module delivery formats – awards can be a combination of taught and workbased, as per customer requirements
iii. Wider cross-section of potential applicants – using the staged approach of PG Certificate, to PG Diploma
to MSc, students with non-standard backgrounds will be find out whether they can cope with work at
PG Certificate level before being tied to an MSc. In some cases, an individual may not need a full
MSc, but could benefit from a shorter award: these are no longer exit awards, but staged. Entry
requirements are, therefore, flexible.
iv. Students will be enrolled into the Framework, not onto a specific award. This allows “module gathering”,
with guidance to aim for specific named awards as careers develop.
v. The Professional Development Audit will be of use to both student and employer, acting as the student’s
study plan.
The University benefits by:
i.
Module sharing: where relevant, no longer providing several versions of generic modules in different
faculties - instead use generic modules across awards - this is both cost and time effective. The
assessments will be used to direct the learning to the students’ specific sector.
ii. Work-based learning – allowing academics closer links to specific engineering projects in the business
environment.
iii. Being perceived as employer-focused and willing to be flexible to meet bespoke needs.

University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) Case Study – July 2012

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as the “market intelligence” aspect begins to work in our favour. so to allow those concerned about the approach to see it in action before committing themselves. Faculty is aware that Undergraduate intake is likely to change with the new fee structure and is very keen to support alternative income streams.Approval a. such as more employer relationships. This meant that this project could be put into both an employer-focus context and an internal development context. ii. we are planning a rolling intake: Cohorts are only needed for taught modules. This. due to the short timescales. which has provided some flexibility in preparing for the Framework – and related MSc – approval. Internal processes: Recent changes to UWE’s administrative structure have meant some revision of processes. rather than trying to sell a product. Overview of how any issues/challenges were addressed As part of UWE’s overall improvement activity. Module-sharing across departments and faculties is a sound principle. too. University of the West of England. This is an on-going issue. It is hoped this situation will be rectified for the future. is under discussion at senior levels in the Faculty. Marketing has been targeted at developing relationships with existing and new employers. Marketing a. It has been decided to build up the concept before trying to get everyone involved. it is expected that this will be achieved before September 2012. as it is recognised how important this Framework is to the Department. iii. but the financial structure does not support it. meaning local support is nil and there is a slow reaction time from the Centre. Validation . Resources a. An indication of any agreed indicators of success Very simply – how many students we get in 2012/2013. Bristol (UWE) Case Study – July 2012 Page 2 of 4 . Partly this is due to the fact that the existing model does not easily accept flexible delivery methods and also. This issue has already been recognised in the Health activities. but should increase well over time. but. The Framework concept enabled this to happen at the same time as providing the opportunity to include the new MSc Professional Engineering award. flexible delivery format. This has meant marketing has been carried out by the Framework team. b. Key issues have been: i. Explaining the concept to academic staff is deliberately piecemeal. However. Securing university commitment Please provide: (500 . including validation UWE was already committed to grow its work-based learning provision. Income and costs are normally against a specific award. The toolkit developed by the Engineering Council will be directed to the Central services to enable process improvements. The Faculty Executive has supported this local approach. The revised processes are better than those used before. but is still to be resolved. Setting award fees has also been difficult. this process has been very challenging.1000 words) The steps taken to secure this. also made the process more drawn out. Financial a. b. for the first intake. as some are more inclined to this approach than others. including validation Overview of how any issues/challenges were addressed An indication of any agreed indicators of success The steps taken to secure this. learning facilitation. etc. It has. but this will not be practical with the Framework. but still do not quite meet the needs of a programme such as this MSc Framework. iv. Workload modelling is difficult. even though it is the first question employers ask. and new concepts could easily be explained at the Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. being discussed by the Faculty Executives. Creating the Framework meant including concepts such as module sharing. This approach means initial intake is likely to be low. and approval has not yet been given for the Framework. market intelligence has to be intensified to ensure numbers increase the following year. it is difficult still to identify exactly what resource will be needed to support work-based learning. Each PDA and WBL Learning Contract will be developed with the individual student and employer. Employer-focused: Department is already very employer-facing. As the year progresses.Engineering Gateways Practice Transfer Partnership Adopter Case Study 2. b. Although the Framework will be available from September 2012. Marketing and Communication has been centralised this year. however. several existing awards (including CPDA) need to be refreshed by September 2012.

in workshop form. University of the West of England. 1st stage of Approval process completed. We are being careful not to affect the MSc Aerospace too much. Department approval of the project. Follow-up on issues raised is underway. during a potential application process. Advice and support during your journey to adopting the Engineering Gateways framework Please list the key sources that you found most useful: Engineering Gateways background material UWE WBL processes. It is the flexibility it offers which holds most interest. but not so clear how the organisation benefits. Engagement The UWE Engineering Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) has been used. which allows awards to be achieved via module gathering. This needs to be worked out early on. The MSc Professional Engineering is good for individuals. universities traditionally target students with awards – whilst we are aiming to target employers with opportunities. It is a different mindset and how it can be fully achieved is still under consideration. to ensure the employer can see how the organisation benefits by letting someone be assessed on “their day job”. November 2011 Department and Faculty approval of Framework concept. External engagement Please provide: (up to 500 words) Brief overview of employer engagement activity Details of the level of engagement with appropriate Professional Engineering Institutions (PEIs) Brief overview of employer engagement activity Employer Understanding It is very difficult to explain to an employer why he should opt for work-based learning modules instead of taught provision. although it was not useful directly to us. it is fully recognised that most awards within the Framework will not be directly accredited – rather relying on evidence at the end of the study programme to determine whether an individual can be registered as Chartered. However. SEMTA interest. to identify for existing customers how the Postgraduate provision is being expanded. March 2012 It was pleasing to note that the toolkit was very close to the process we had already been following. Revision of Approval and Marketing processes to support Framework. March 2011 4. Engagement with appropriate Professional Engineering Institutions (PEIs) The PEIs are invited to the Engineering IAB. May 2012 7.Engineering Gateways Practice Transfer Partnership Adopter Case Study 3. on company visits Workshops and HE-STEM dissemination events are being used and arranged to further the engagement process. Individual organisations are being informed about the Framework. it did help us confirm our approach was correct. by ensuring a number of core modules have to be taken to meet the PEIs’ requirements. April 2012 6. who were very intrigued by the range of opportunities being offered. but can only really be of long term benefit if employers can see its usefulness. around its “Shell Award Framework”. The Professional Development Audit and WBL learning contracts are key to this. 4. but can take some explaining. IAB approval March 2012 5. It can easily be seen how an individual gets benefit for work-based learning. June / July 2012 5. It could be of use for the Engineering Council to visit UWE and discuss how the toolkit can be used within our Central Academic Services for similar activities. However. and are aware of the Framework and why it has been developed. Completion of Approval process. SEMTA gave us the opportunity to speak to some of its members. This is an on-going process. The key to the Framework’s success is to get employers involved. and should be of use elsewhere at UWE. Measures of success have traditionally been sending someone on a taught course and then using the learning obtained to tackle a given task successfully – the CPDA model. Bristol (UWE) Case Study – July 2012 Page 3 of 4 . 2. So. March 2012 3. Key Milestones towards successful implementation List in chronological order of achievement: 1. including the MSc Professional Engineering. Advice and support from our Practice Transfer Partner – University of Hertfordshire Engineering Council Workshop. to ensure its accreditation will be allowed to stand.

A major UWE academic refreshing of programmes This has been part of the reason for the slow approval process. UWE’s major restructuring of all Professional Services Marketing has had to be done quickly. but there needs to be a much longer review process once everything is “up and running” to ensure such an activity is easier to do next time around. 4. it has offered the opportunity to completely rethink our Postgraduate provision in Engineering. Staff Engagement To successfully implement learning facilitation in support of WBL. rather than trying to do everything within the adoption team. to be implemented from September 2012. Staff shortages do not help the situation. who regularly face industry. Talks are commencing with the University Marketing service to rectify this situation for the future. Identify best practice – this also helps to define a development plan. This will be overcome gradually. University of the West of England. However. Bristol (UWE) Case Study – July 2012 Page 4 of 4 . The first job is to identify your market and talk to them as soon as possible to develop the required relationships. Key challenges to successful implementation and how these were overcome Please describe up to five key challenges and their resolution. but this is being managed. Resource Management UWE’s workload model does not easily allow for the flexible delivery approach. as the Framework develops. do not find this too hard. 7. These are probably all equally challenging. consultation with Department and Faculty has helped to define a way ahead. 9. 5. This is in-hand as a date for implementation has been set and approval must be achieved by then. Additional comments (optional) This project started out to simply add in a new MSc to the Department’s portfolio. Employer Engagement An on-going process: a number of activities have been performed and are planned to help with this.Engineering Gateways Practice Transfer Partnership Adopter Case Study 6. We have found workarounds for now. Engineering staff. Advice to prospective adopters Please provide up to three pieces of advice: Take advice from a Practice Transfer Partner – it helps to know whether the thinking underway at the start of the process is sensible. as so many other awards are going through at the same time. 3. although we have not been able to start all the paperwork yet. 3. but those who are more linked to undergraduate activities are not finding this so easy. Get department and faculty support as soon as possible. Hurdles and barriers can then dealt with by those who job it is to clear them. Unexpectedly. which was definitely one of the key objectives of the project. 2. This has been a cost the Department has had to bear. with no time for the revised processes to catch up. there has to be quite a change in direction for some academics. from most challenging to least challenging: 1. Issues or challenges yet to be resolved See section 6. 1. 8. it has informed us on how to deal with potential WBL provision at the Undergraduate level. 2. We expect this to develop much further over the next academic year. In addition.