The week ahead: Education, low carbon vehicles and the future of manufacturing

Editor

The debate on the readiness of engineering graduates for the realities of a career in industry looms large this week

The debate on the readiness of engineering graduates for the realities of industry is an emotive issue that raises more questions than it answers. Does industry expect too much from its graduates? Is the education system doing enough to prepare students? Or are tomorrow’s engineers being let down by the engineering education they receive at school?

The International Symposium for Engineering Education (ISEE) – which opens its doors later this week in Manchester – hopes to discuss, and possibly find the answers to some of these questions.

Conference themes will include a look at how schoolteachers can be educated about the importance of STEM, a discussion on how former students could be used to inspire the next generation of students, and a session on how students could be equipped with the entrepreneurial skills required to succeed in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Also this week, manufacturing engineering researchers from across the globe will meet in Southampton for the 12th annual International Conference on Manufacturing Research (ICMR 2014).

The event will examine the importance of manufacturing to the global economy, and enable academic and industry researchers to look at how the next generation of advanced manufacturing technology can ensure that the sector continues to grow.

One manufacturing area in which the UK excels is the burgeoning low carbon vehicle sector, an area of industry that will be showcased this week at the Millbrook proving ground.

LCV (Low Carbon Vehicle) 2014  – which last year attracted over 1,962 delegates and 157 exhibitors – will showcase the UK’s LCV technology capabilities and, through initiatives such as “the proving factory” will help vehicle manufacturers ‘de-risk’ the process of industrialising and manufacturing advanced propulsion technologies.

And, of course, the first race in the new all-electric motor racing series, Formula E, will take place this weekend in Beijing. In case you missed it, our news editor, Jason Ford, caught a sneak preview of what to expect from Formula E at a recent pre-race trial in the UK.

Finally, later this week, around 700 delegates from more than 30 countries will gather at Westminster’s Central Hall for the annual WNA (World Nuclear Association) Symposium, the nuclear industry’s biggest global gathering.

Over the course of three days, a host of experts will speak on wide range of topics from finance and public acceptance through to radiological protection, front-end fuel cycle, and uranium resources.

The programme will conclude on Friday afternoon with a leaders panel, in which the bosses of some of the world’s biggest nuclear energy firms will discuss the key issues that the industry will face over the next 60 years.