A group of RADICAL project staff members met with company representatives in South West Finland in May and June, discussing the benefits of the new engineering education model ENGINE and mapping out potential pilots to test the model. In addition, company representatives were interviewed to collect important feedback to develop the model.
The aim of the interview was to investigate companies’ viewpoints in e.g., studying and working schedules. For example, in Germany, scheduling differs greatly between models. In one model students train altogether 6 days a week, three at work and three at the HEI (Higher Education Institution). In another model, studying and working alternate in a three months cycle.
During the visits, companies had the opportunity to express their views on education model alternatives. For example in one company, the model with three months cycle was considered unsuitable for the company’s needs. Integrating the student into the company projects would require more permanent presence. One question of interest was student’s pay. The interviewed companies had a positive attitude towards hiring the students during their studies.
One of the several benefits of the ENGINE model is that it facilitates recruitment. It requires a great deal of enticing, recruiting and initiating skilled workforce, to summer jobs for example. In the new model, the student learns the company practices while studying, at a reasonable cost. In addition, companies spare from the extra work caused by changing trainees.
In the ENGINE model, some themes like basics of mathematics are studied at the HEI. Students learn certain agreed issues when working in different departments and projects. Agreed themes are learned in the company by participating in work in different departments or in different projects. In industrial engineering, tasks relate, for example, to procurement, sales, product development or supply chain management.
In the interviews, it became clear that companies consider the ENGINE model as an excellent alternative to find experts for the company’s needs.