Last edited 23 Dec 2020

Main author

BRE Buzz Researcher Website

Engaging with higher education



[edit] Introduction

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

This blog article provides some simple ideas to help:

[edit] 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 has some 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 the site. Taking tours around a site is good experience for recent graduates too.

[edit] Deliver visiting lectures

Sharing your current experiences with the future generation 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. Lectures 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.

[edit] Embrace the digital world

If shortage of time does not allow physically being in the same room as the students or it is necessary to reach a wider audience, digital technologies such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide opportunities to engage with a wide and dispersed audience.

[edit] Get involved in developing curriculums

Universities are always seeking employer input to the development of curriculums. Consider how your experience could help develop course content and ensure students are receiving relevant and up-to-date education.

A longer-term option is becoming involved with programme advisory boards, who meet maybe once or twice a year and have an ongoing input into curriculum developments.

[edit] Supervise a dissertation

Get more hands-on with the students and supervise a dissertation. This is a great way to mentor young people who will enter the 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.

[edit] Become an external examiner

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

[edit] Host an open day

Open the doors of your organisation to demonstrate the range of roles and career opportunities that are available.

[edit] Provide work experience / industrial placements

Work experience and industrial placements help students get quality experience of working in the industry. They can also identify future employees.

Remember that 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.

[edit] Take part in a KTP

If you want to access the knowledge and skills within a university, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships provide a mechanism to work with a university on a strategic project.

See for more information.

[edit] Be the industrial supervisor for a PhD

Provide industrial input into PhD research projects to get more involved with what is happening in the university and the latest research.

[edit] Offer a prize

Offering an annual prize for first or second year students can be a great way to raise a company’s profile among next-generation professionals. It need not cost much and will help attract students to apply for posts in your business.

This article was originally published here by BRE Buzz on 26 Jan 2017. It was written by Ali Nicholl.

--BRE Buzz

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