The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) is happy to support the skill and knowledge development of Engineers within the Rail Industry. In fact, UWE strongly encourages applicants already based in industry, e.g. to top-up apprenticeships. Their activities are at both undergraduate and postgraduate level; examples include:
- Master Level CPD: “Rail Systems Thinking” – based upon a more generic Foundations of Systems Engineering course, this module has been tailored to meet Network Rail’s specific training requirements, with an associated assessment activity to help embed the learning achieved. Network Rail has received several provisions of this course. The organisation is currently enabling the electrification of the rail network. Therefore, the key feature of the course is for those within the organisation to consider real-time issues and solutions. They are expected – at the end of the course – to present these to senior management. They learn how Systems Engineering can help identify key strategic linkages and associated operational challenges and opportunities to improve the projects they undertake. The course leaders initiate discussion of key issues, and encourage – with plenty of support – the delegates to identify their own problems and potential solutions. Such solutions have already provided tangible benefits and monetary savings, whilst the delegates themselves are influencing long term thinking. Network Rail has found this a very useful activity, and are considering widening the approach beyond the local region.”
- Master Level CPD: Sustainable Transport Management and Operations. This course considers sustainable transport, focusing on understanding the various key transport options of, Rail, Road and Aerospace. It identifies how to initiate, manage and operate optimal integrated solutions, particularly in respect of the global environment. The course is of value to anyone working in transport related disciplines and is suitable as a short course for employees that need an introduction to the wider subject of transport sustainability: an assessment is offered to further embed the learning. This course could be further tailored to concentrate on specific transport topics.
- Master Level CPD: Bridge Inspection. A set of six one day courses focusing on the effective management of bridges. Bridge inspections can have a significant impact on maintenance regimes, financial planning and, ultimately, the safety of the public. Therefore, the importance of the bridge inspector cannot be understated, for both highways and rail.
- UWE offers BEng Civil and Environmental Engineering, full time and part time. A number of Network Rail employees study this course part time, and their projects are focussed on company-activities, meeting immediate organisation requirements; this has impact on the company’s bottom line.
- Placements and Internships are also available with Network Rail for students to undertake roles within the organisation for career development and potential opportunities for graduate employment. Over the last five years six graduates have moved into immediate employment with Network Rail.
- UWE is also working with Network Rail on a number of research activities, such as the on-going Railway Flood Resilience project, funded by Natural Environment Research Council -NERC
Training is offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and in further professional development opportunities (e.g. towards IEng and CEng). Those already based in industry are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants are accepted at various stages in their careers and their experiential learning can be considered within their academic study programmes. UWE will consider each individual and their backgrounds, and advise on the most suitable form of training / learning to meet their personal career develop and their organisation’s capability requirements.
Benefits are therefore twofold:
- Individuals aim for their professional qualifications, e.g. CEng
- Companies achieve their skills and competency requirements.
The academic assessment process and rigour are used to embed the learning, but is an integral activity to provide immediate business benefit, being based on actual business projects. Companies are able to raise the professionalism of their workforce within their industry and sector – enhancing their reputation and growth, and staff retention.