The Year in Industry scheme (awarded The Royal Academy of Engineering Mark of Excellence for Best Programme), places bright, well-motivated students into industry, after they have passed their A-levels and before they start their degree course - for their gap year. The selected students are matched with companies on the basis of their chosen degree subjects - usually engineering, computing, science and business studies.
Benefits to Students
For students, the scheme offers a chance to gain valuable experience, business training and confirmation of their degree and career choice. For example, after a successful Year in Industry at PGM Ballscrews Ltd, Megan Harper decided that a combined Honours course of Materials and Mechanical Engineering was for her.
Benefits to Industry
For companies, the Year in Industry scheme offers 12-month structured placements providing not just technical and commercial benefits, but also an early entry into graduate recruitment. The scheme pre-selects suitable candidates for companies to interview. The successful student is then employed for a year before either side considers university sponsorship or paid vacation work. The company pays the student a minimum salary of £150 per week plus a management fee to the Year in Industry of £1,500, which includes the full selection service and support during the placement and additional training (NEBS Supervisory Management Certificate).
Success of The Programme
Since it began in 1987, students taking part in the scheme continue to make valuable contributions to enterprise. Laurence Tanner of Messier-Dowty says about Year in Industry student, Tom Jeffries: “He gave some experienced engineers serious food for thought with his work: His energy conservation project identified savings of more than £96,000 at the Gloucester plant.
Last year the Young Engineer for Britain Award was won by Cassie Partington, aged 19, who was a Year in Industry student working for Flexys Rubber Chemicals at Wrexham. Chemical spillages, creating environmental problems, had ‘plagued the Flexys site for almost fifteen years’, says the company’s Product Manager. In solving this problem. Cassie encountered stiff opposition from experienced staff members who had been unable to find a solution. She stuck to her guns, made improvements to the pilot plant and finally came up with a solution, which will save the company vast sums of money worldwide in fines and treatment costs.
Future Employment Through the Programme
Company loyalty is developed very early on as Mike Jenkins found. Mike spent his Year in Industry at Newby, a market leader in high quality iron castings, helping the foundry consolidate a site move and install a computer network. He returned for vacation work and after gaining a First Class degree in Manufacturing Engineering is now permanently employed as Newby’s Systems Engineer. He has advised other Year in Industry students who have joined the company and feels that it is ‘worthwhile to pass on his experience to others’.
Views from Industry
Large, multi-national companies also speak highly of their Year in Industry students. One such example is Gillette, whose products are sold all across the world. Sir Brian Causton, a director, says about student Christopher Hockley: ‘The results (of his work) have been used in developing new razors and the company is investigating patenting his ideas, making Chris the youngest employee to hold a patent’.
The eagerness to learn and the speed of assimilation of new ideas from the students taking part in the scheme is one of the underlying reasons why the scheme works so well within so many companies of all different shapes and sizes.