The universities of Leeds and Sheffield are the latest members of the Russell Group to partner with the UK Electronics Skills Foundation. They join 11 other universities as part of the UKESF programme which is addressing the overall decline in the number of British students applying and registering for Electrical and Electronic Engineering degrees. The total number of UKESF university partners has grown to 13, and includes half of the Russell Group universities.
“UKESF welcomes the addition of Leeds and Sheffield to the programme,” said Indro Mukerjee, chairman of the UKESF strategic advisory board. “By working with more of the UK’s leading universities, we are able to introduce our industry partners to a wider pool of the most talented electronic engineering students for sponsorship through university. And by providing work experience placements for them, our sponsors are able to develop relationships as an early start to their graduate recruitment process.”
Through its scholarship scheme, UKESF helps top students find work placements with up to 25 industry sponsors, including its industry founders and partners ARM, AWE, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Imagination Technologies, Thales and XMOS. Since 2010, employers have awarded 174 UKESF scholarships to students at its university partners, and the number of scholarships offered each year is growing. Students at Leeds and Sheffield will now be able to apply for summer vacation and one-year industrial training placements through UKESF.
“The work the UKESF does to encourage more young people into electronic engineering degrees through its schools programme is just one of the reasons we are very pleased to have joined them.” commented Professor Ian Robertson, Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds. “In addition, we are able to offer more industry-sponsored scholarships, showing prospective students there is a demand for electronics graduates and that, in the current climate of high tuition fees, an engineering education will prove a rewarding investment.”
Professor Geraint Jewell, head of the University of Sheffield’s Electronic and Electrical Engineering department, said, “By partnering with UKESF, we are able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of the industry to ensure that we are better preparing our students for the real world. We pride ourselves on the high percentage of our graduates that move directly into careers, so we are delighted to be part of a process that will further safeguard their future.”
By 2020 it is anticipated that the UK electronics systems industry will generate an additional 150,000  highly skilled jobs to support an industry with a potential worth of £120 billion, however UCAS data shows a 26 per cent drop in British applicants to EEE courses between 2002 and 2013 . Leeds and Sheffield join Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton, Surrey and York as university partners to UKESF.
For more information on the UKESF programme and how to get access to the best EEE undergraduates visit www.ukesf.org/working-with-ukesf