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On 23 October, OCR and Siemens are celebrating a ground-breaking new partnership designed to tackle the skills gap in engineering and manufacturing, with a launch event at the Siemens Crystal Building in East London.
The partnership, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will focus on the development of joint education resources for 14-16 year olds and will deliver a curriculum in schools designed to increase the skills of prospective engineers. The curriculum will be taught by teachers across the UK to support the delivery of OCR’s Cambridge National in Engineering Level 1/2 qualification.
The scheme has been developed in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, the Department of Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Toby Peyton-Jones, HR Director, Siemens plc, explained the impetus behind the partnership project: "The Institute of Engineering Technology recently found that 76 per cent of employers reported problems with recruiting senior engineers with five to 10 years’ experience, up from 48 per cent in 2011.
"So we need to tackle the skills problem urgently, by creating new and innovative partnerships which is what we have sought to achieve with OCR. As a sector, we must pull every lever to get the skills and talent pipeline moving again. It is vital for the future of young people, but also we know that a highly skilled economy also attracts inward investment, which is critical for sustainable growth."
Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of OCR, added: "Siemens and OCR together know how to promote and enthuse science and engineering in schools. We will use real life applications to explain the science and technology behind projects such as wind turbines, scanner and trains. We also look forward to engaging employers to use their expert knowledge to deliver education material directly to students."
Starting from this autumn, the new programme will be available to every school in the country. The modules taught in classrooms will provide teachers with a structured plan to teach students how a range of topics work together across the syllabus, giving 14-16 year old learners an understanding of how skills and knowledge could link together in a working environment.
The approach will be centred on applying knowledge in areas such as science, technology engineering and mathematics to ‘real life’ projects. Modules include an Energy Recovery project that explores technologies used to improve efficiency and lower the running costs of a range of vehicles including trains, buses and Formula 1 cars.
A SMART Homes project explores the design challenges of creating a low carbon home and a manufacturing module asks students to produce a model of a flywheel from specification and to then develop a manufacturing plan to mass produce it across the UK.
A Powering the Future project explores the engineering principles of UK power networks and looks at how the businesses involved keep the country moving. It inspires learners to use IT to learn about physics, electronics, mathematics, business structure, systems design, branding, media skills and financial strategy in the context of an essential resource.
Lord Baker, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said: "I warmly welcome the Siemens/OCR employer skills partnership. All children should have the opportunity to learn by doing as well as studying. This will lead to a growing demand for education from 14 onwards. This is what our education system and our economy needs."
Top left: Martin Webber, one of OCR's Sector Specialists for Business Engagement presents on the new curriculum.
Top right: Rob Moore, OCR consultant, talking about the project approach to the partnership.
Bottom: The Crystal in East London - one of the world's greenest buildings, where the launch event was held.
Take a look at the resources here: