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The employer perspective on universities' promotion of opportunities to engage with the STEM UG curriculum

Lead Institution: Bournemouth University

This is a sub-project of Get STEM working: innovation with employer and student engagement


It is recognised that projects, industrial and commercial placements offer great benefits to both STEM students and employers.  They can be a cost effective and flexible mechanism for employers to benefit from the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm that STEM undergraduates possess.  They can provide a showcase to STEM students of the opportunities and challenges presented by potential employment in the companies providing the projects or placements.  It is also an excellent opportunity for students to work on real world problems and projects with all the constraints that these bring.  This can also be the starting point for longer term relationships between the company and the University or College.  Many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have a long and successful track record with industrial placements and undergraduate projects linked to industry. The aim of this project is to build on existing relationships and best practices in order to develop an innovative methodology for promoting the benefits to companies of providing experiential learning opportunities.  We will also draw on the experience of the Higher Education Academy and relevant professional bodies.

Bournemouth University’s excellent track record of involving employers in providing experiential learning opportunities for STEM undergraduate curriculum, including work with Nokia PLC, Anglepoise Limited and Gelert Ltd, will provide a sound base for this project.

Aims & Objectives

  • Carry out a review of existing resources, toolkits, guidelines and presentations of case studies that aim to: a) encourage employers to provide experiential learning opportunities for STEM undergraduate students and, b) support employers during the process of engaging with universities in this way.
  • Conduct a series of focus groups with STEM employers, focusing on SMEs, who have experience of working with universities in relation to the UG curriculum, and gain their feedback on these existing materials developed by the HE sector and related organisations.
  • Based on what emerges from the feedback, work with employers to explore alternative approaches to promoting these opportunities and providing support.
  • Trial any alternative materials and approaches with a range of STEM employers, including those who have never provided these types of experiential learning opportunities before.
  • Disseminate the findings widely to universities and related organisations

Staff involved

Christine Keenan
Project lead, Bournemouth University

Penny Mitchell
Project coordinator, Bournemouth University

Dr Xavier Velay
Bournemouth University