Businesses can 'achieve more' with students

editorial image
0
Have your say

Businesses are being offered the chance to team up with enterprising students to tackle the biggest global challenges facing society today as part of a revolutionary new curriculum change at the University of Sheffield.

Starting this semester, Achieve More will give businesses and organisations across Yorkshire the exclusive opportunity to work in partnership with a world-leading University, talented students and expert academics in order to make a difference not only to the city, but the world.

Science Lab Sheffield University

Science Lab Sheffield University

The landmark project marks a first for a UK university and is the first major curriculum change the university has introduced across all degree programmes in more than 20 years.

Deputy vice-chancellor, Paul White, said: “Creating links for local organisations and businesses to be involved in working on important local and global issues will benefit everyone.

“It can sometimes seem to outsiders as if students lead isolated lives, in communities consisting only of people like themselves.

“We have a wonderful record for our students interacting more broadly with the city region - through enterprise activities, community volunteering and outreach support in schools.”

He added: “More opportunities to pursue such activities benefits the region through the human resource, interest and enthusiasm our students can bring, but it also benefits our students.

“Everyone can win through enhancing the integration of students.”

The innovative scheme will become a compulsory part of all degree courses, across every faculty and year group, and will set Sheffield students apart in regards to boosting their employability and work-based skills.

Students will work in groups on a project for either a full semester, or participate in week long events at venues such as Ponds Forge.

The idea behind the scheme was developed from the successful Global Engineering Challenge, which has been taking place in the Faculty of Engineering since 2011.

The challenge encourages students to think outside their own specialism and work alongside professional industry experts, resulting in life-changing initiatives.

This includes research into alternative fuel sources for a small community in India and encouraging students further with final projects in the invention of a window handle for people suffering with arthritis.

Other inventions include a mixing bowl to help a disabled youngster learn to cook and a special walking frame to help children with a rare bone disease.

Mike Maddock, managing director at Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) Ltd, who is an advocate of this type of scheme having given presentations for the Global Engineering Challenge, said: “Employers need to see that students have a level of maturity and have taken positive steps to improve their experience and have an understanding how ‘real world’ companies operate.

“Companies should take the time to engage with students and support the University as this type of professional relationship should be part of their medium to longer term strategy.

“A company’s biggest asset is its people and the key skills they bring to the organisation.

“If we do not give young people the right skills, across many sectors, then ultimately business and the British economy will suffer.”

For businesses and other groups wanting to get involved, please visit achievemore@sheffield.ac.uk.