Composites curriculum development project

A HEFCE Catalyst Fund project: Closing the skills gap and supporting the Industrial Strategy through curriculum development

The UK advanced composites industry has the potential to grow very significantly over the next ten years due to new applications in aerospace, automotive, wind energy, construction and oil and gas. However, the current pool of trained and talented composites scientists and engineers is small and needs to be grown very rapidly if the opportunity is to be realised. The urgent need is to be able to retrain existing manufacturing professionals, alongside increasing the number of composites trained graduates coming out of the Universities.

This one year project brings together Bristol and Plymouth universities, both leaders in composites education and training to provide innovative work-based curricula. Over the course of the year the project will work collaboratively with the British Composites Society, National Composites Centre and a range of industrial partners to quantify requirements, identify gaps, and start to produce a portfolio of flexible topic-based material.

The material will be trialled at the National Composites Centre and then made available across a range of sectors and partners to be used for a variety of levels and audiences. We aim to start the process of delivering the volume of skilled workforce needed in composites, alongside demonstrating innovative approaches that could be applied to other emerging technology areas.

As part of the project we are making estimates of the numbers of composites trained staff that will be needed to support the predicted growth in the industry and are aiming to compare those estimates to an estimate of the number of people leaving the UK HE sector having received some formal training in composites. We will be engaging with both the academic and industrial stakeholders to deliver the project in support of the UK Composites industry.

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