The UK’s first ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’ celebrated its largest graduation recently, when 29 students received their BEng and MEng qualifications.

A joint collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) saw its second cohort graduate in style, with many of the industry-ready engineers going into high-profile jobs at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Wipac Ltd, Precision Castparts Corp and Unipart.

It marks a successful four years in operation for the groundbreaking initiative, which was designed specifically to give young people the opportunity to learn on real-world manufacturing projects.

Over 100 students are now currently working their way through the hands-on course at AME, aided by a specially compiled textbook that is linked directly to what ‘first’ and ‘second’ year students will be trained on.

Carl Perrin, Director of AME, was delighted with the recent performance: “When we launched, people called it an ambitious vision, but with another cohort graduating we can now safely say that the vision has become reality.

“Our graduates are working on the latest vehicle electrification technology or project managing exciting contracts in the automotive and aerospace sector. We’ve also had our first six students achieve their Masters, including Maria Maynard-Bligouras who is now working at the MTC in Coventry.”

He continued: “It is important that the content we are delivering reflects what manufacturers want from their future employees, so we are continually adapting the courses. One example is giving them more ‘design and make time’ with CNC machining and a number of initiatives that see AME students experience international supply chains and complete design projects with universities from Brazil, Germany and the US.”

Matthew Jacobs was one of the young engineers graduating and he has already been accepted on to the Management Development Programme at Leicester-based Precision Castparts Corp.

The ‘IET’ prize winner beat off competition from 12,000 candidates to secure his place and attributes the volume of practical learning he received at AME as playing a key role.“I didn’t really get on well with A-levels and was looking for something a lot more hands-on, which is when I came across the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering,” added Matthew.

“It has been a great decision and has given me an unbelievable start on my manufacturing career. In the three years I was at AME, I worked on weight reduction for an Aston Martin fuel tank, embraced Industry 4.0 and explored lights-out manufacturing.”

He continued: “This experience definitely helped me get the job at Precision Castparts Corp, where I am currently working towards managing between 80 and 200 people at any one time. I’m even flying over to the US next year to meet the main bosses.”

The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering is located on the Unipart Manufacturing site in Coventry and is housed in a 1700 sq metre purpose-built hub.

In addition to creating industry-ready graduates, AME also boasts a team of technology specialists and professors who are working together to develop new powertrain and energy transfer solutions for automotive, aerospace and renewables.

This has included over £7m of funded projects and already led to Unipart securing a new fuel rail project for the Ford Fox engine and the start of production on a lightweight exhaust system for Aston Martin.

Current focus has shifted towards vehicle electrification, which has seen recent new investment in building capability for the manufacture of high performance passenger car battery systems.