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12 ways you can engage with higher education

The construction industry is keen to ensure that education and training is as relevant as possible to industry needs and based the latest industry practice, whilst academia need support basing assignments and projects on real projects and current industry experience.

1. Host site visits

Students need to experience real environments and be inspired by the work that takes place on real building sites.  Why not arrange a visit to your site by the Universities you wish to collaborate with.  GoConstruct have some great resources to help with the process.

Be aware that universities may wish to bring large groups of students, so have plans in place to host multiple mini-groups around site. Taking tours around site is good experience for recent graduates too.

2. Deliver visiting lectures

Sharing your current experiences with the future generation of our industry leads to a much more enriching student experience and provides more relevant and accurate skills and knowledge.  Get in touch with your chosen academic establishment to find out how you can get involved.  These can be one-off or a series, and project case study presentations are often a very welcome way to explain and illustrate how fundamental ideas, standards, or approaches are applied in practice.

3. Embrace the digital world

If you’re diary doesn’t allow you to physically be in the same room as the students or you want to reach a wider audience digital technologies such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) provide opportunities for you to engage with a wide and dispersed audience.

4. Get involved in developing curriculums

Universities are always seeking employer input on the development of curriculums.  Consider how your experience could help develop course content and ensure that students are receiving relevant and up-to-date education.  A longer term option is to be involved with programme advisory boards or employer forums who meet maybe 1-2 times a year, and have an ongoing input into curriculum developments.

5. Supervise a dissertation

Why not get more hands-on with the students and supervise a dissertation.  This is a great way to mentor young people who will enter our industry and help shape their final year dissertations. For example, contact the course leader, and offer some specific titles for students to choose from, then help them access your staff and sites for their data collection.

6. Become an external examiner

External examiners can really help universities ensure that students are judged against appropriate industry standards and open students up to opinions and ideas from industry.

7. Host an open day

Why not open the doors of your organisation to demonstrate the range of roles and career opportunities that are available in the sector.

8. Provide work experience / industrial placements

Work experience and industrial placements are a great way to help students get quality experience of working in the industry.  They are also a great way to identify future employees. Remember students are interested in short, summer placements as well as year-long placements. An increasing number of firms offer summer placements to students at the end of their first year of study.

9. Take part in a KTP

If you want to really access the knowledge and skills within a University, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships provide an excellent mechanism to work with a University on a strategic project.  See http://ktp.innovateuk.org/ for more information.

10. Be the industrial supervisor for a PhD

Providing industrial input into PhD research projects is a great way to get more involved with what is happening in the University and to get involved in the latest research.

11. Offer a prize

If you want to raise your company’s profile among students, why not offer an annual prize for 1st or 2nd year students? It need not cost much, and will help attract students to apply for posts in your business.

12. Join our Brokerage Workshop!

Join our CEHE Brokerage Workshop at Loughborough University’s London Campus on 16 March – find out more here https://cehebrokerage.eventbrite.com