Editor’s comment: Engineering is a team sport…

Author : Mark Gradwell | Editor | EPDT

03 October 2021


A few weeks ago, along with many other parents, I dropped my eldest child off at university for the first time – with both of us feeling a heady mixture of excitement, anxiety & anticipation about the start of a new adventure & phase of life...

This editorial leader was originally featured in the October 2021 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks earlier, at the beginning of September 2021, NMITE (New Model Institute for Technology & Engineering) in Hereford finally opened its doors to welcome its 50-strong founding ‘Pioneer Cohort’ of students, who will go on to become the first graduates of NMITE’s Master’s Degree in Integrated Engineering in just over 3 years’ time…

Although this is only the beginning for NMITE, it also marked the end of a long road for what was recently described by Times Higher Education (THE) as the “UK’s first greenfield university in a generation”. In fact, NMITE is not yet officially recognised as a university – a protected term that only the independent regulator for UK higher education, the Office for Students (OfS), has legal power to authorise use of – but it is getting closer to that status.

After its inauguration in October 2018, NMITE spent the past few years building its academic team and infrastructure, while also honing every aspect of its curriculum and learning experience – enlisting the help of a 31-strong Design Cohort of young people, aged 18-25. In August 2020, NMITE was listed in the register of English higher education providers by the OfS, and in November 2020, the institution finally received validation by The Open University (OU), enabling it to begin student recruitment in December 2020 for its Pioneer Cohort to start in September 2021.

MG lockdown headshot
MG lockdown headshot

Working with industry, government, professional engineering bodies and one of the world’s leading STEM education innovators, Olin College of Engineering in the US, NMITE’s vision is to create a new way of learning for engineering education, centred around teams-based, multi-disciplinary, practical hands-on learning and problem-solving – designed to produce versatile, diverse and work-ready engineers that offer independence, creativity, innovation and adaptability. Its mission is to help address the UK’s shortage of graduate engineers by focusing on an integrated engineering programme to train and nurture learners ready to tackle global challenges – including sustainable food production, access to safe water and clean energy – which do not fall neatly into traditional mechanical, electrical or materials engineering boxes.

At a welcome event during its official opening week, NMITE President & Chief Executive Officer, Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon told students: “At NMITE you will not study engineering, but rather you will learn to be an engineer”. She encouraged them to actively seek out those who have different skills, experiences and ideas, in order to learn from them – as well as looking for opportunities to share their own unique skills and perspectives with others. “We know from employers that what they value most is engineers who are ‘creative problem solvers’, who have ‘initiative’, with ‘real-work experience’ and who can work in teams and collaborate.” She told them to keep in mind the words of Paul Stein, Chief of Technology at Rolls Royce: “Engineering is a team sport”.

Demand for STEM skills and graduates continues to grow, as industry consistently struggles to recruit the volume of engineers and scientists required to address the grand challenges facing society. NMITE believes that engineering is an exciting and varied career path – and its learning experience is designed for students to learn what an engineer does and how she or he can improve the world around us to make everyday life better for all. NMITE aims to develop graduates who will make a positive impact on quality of life, the environment and industry.

EPDT October 2021 cover image
EPDT October 2021 cover image

As my #2 child (the STEM-curious one) begins A-levels this year, I will definitely be taking them to an NMITE open day and encouraging them to consider a different approach and experience for STEM education!

EPDT's October 2021 issue also contains features on Sensor technologies and Communications applications, plus EPDT's productronica show preview. Read more on what's inside EPDT this month

Mark Gradwell


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