Go back 10 years and coming out of university with a degree more or less guaranteed you employment. This led to an increase in degrees that did not provide a set of skills with practical application but instead knowledge about a particular subject. Art history degrees are good examples of this.
As such, it became relatively easy to get a degree and the more technical subjects such as automotive engineering studies fell into decline. This is backed up by a Times Higher Education article from 2017 showing that graduate engineering vacancies are increasing. Now, in 2019 it is fair to say that the value of studying subjects that increase the chance of landing a graduate-calibre job is being realised by students and employers.
In terms of automotive engineering, being able to work on glamorous racing cars or even for dealerships where you can learn to tune engines and you can also replace brake discs yourself are coming into vogue. Students are not missing the fact that a degree have to lead to a job or how else are they going to service all that debt.
These skills will almost certainly be in demand going forward. Car sales are integral to economies across the world and new markets in both China and India are seeing high growth. High car sales result in high demand for automotive skills. Despite the fear-mongering over Brexit and the car and manufacturing industry generally, automotive qualifications are sought after and will continue to be so.
Opportunities for universities
This begs the question of how is this going to benefit universities. Well, gearing courses to the more practical would be a good start. In terms of the car industry, the University of Hertfordshire now offers a dedicated Automotive BSC course. If university managers can start to implement good degree courses in engineering studies of all types, they will in all probability see strong demand for them from students.
This will boost university revenue streams and forge a better reputation for the university. Since the introduction of fees, education has become both a commodity to sell and the market is competitive. Increasing or diversifying technical courses will open the door to the more worldly practical student that has an interest in discovering how things work.
As well as obtaining revenue via the student employers want and need students that can work in this field. They want the talent that can be applied to design, repair and service. With negotiation, it could be possible to obtain research funding.
Additionally, working with leading employers courses could be designed that give a good and employer-centric grounding to a technical subject.
Courses also focus on other aspects such as product development and management. Both of which are valuable and are in demand. Technical courses are far reaching in their scope.
What do courses look like:
BSC automotive courses such as those run by the University of Hertfordshire focus on several key aspects and often studies are structured in the following way:
- Car design: The fundamentals of how cars are designed are taught. This includes engines, powertrain, steering, suspension systems, and body design thinking and technology. As well as the fundamentals of car design students gain an overview of engineering, management, technology, and information technology. This is taught in the first year.
- Building core understanding: Now the basics have been taught most automotive courses take a deep dive in how the technology works. This normally looks like vehicle design in terms of aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing together with a comprehensive understanding of CAD, CAM, and simulation analysis techniques.
- Diversifying: Once down students explore the aspects which interest them. By this stage, they are gravitating in one direction or the other. More practical mindset steer towards the hands-on aspect. More business mindset then will explore management orientated aspects in more depth.
Easily marketable courses
Marketing technical courses should not prove difficult. There are avenues to explore so you can easily identify the right marketing vector for you. Examples:
- With wishy-washy subject degrees are not proving well in the job market. Technical courses are
- Employers want people with practical skills that know how to apply them
- Technical job opportunities tend to offer good benefits and pay well
- Jobs are varied and in demand including designers, mechanics, managers, engineers, and technicians
- Some positions are within prestigious organisations such as Formula 1 and big tech companies such as Google
- Internationally transferable skill base
Once you start your marketing campaign you should start to see applicants applying, generating revenue for your university. Students are realising they need a degree that they can use in the real world to have a hope of a quality of life.
Now is the time to start automotive courses or similar and help students obtain the skills they need to make a go of it in the real world. Revenue streams will increase to boot.