From education to employment

Computer Science Students at Burnley College help secure the future workforce of the Aerospace Industry

Mackenzie Ingham and Charlie Glover – Advanced Level Computer Students at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre

High-flying Burnley College Students are helping Britain stay at the forefront of the aerospace and engineering industry by creating a vital new tool to help fill job vacancies.

A team of seven Advanced Level Computing Students from Burnley College Sixth Form Centre have created a bespoke dashboard which monitors and tracks vacancies and skills gaps across multiple sectors in real time.

The dashboard uses live data to create an instant, visual and easy to understand report showing employment trends, skills gaps and potential supply chains, allowing employers and educational and apprenticeship providers like Themis at Burnley College to work together to get the best people in the best roles.

This forms part of the Lancashire Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing (AEM) Watchtower project – a £1 million initiative to support the Aerospace sector in Lancashire.

First year student Charlie Glover jumped at the chance to become part of the project at Burnley College.

Charlie, 18, from Bacup, Lancs., said: “The main focus of the Watchtower project is to see how COVID has impacted the industry as a whole and give experts in the industry the right information they need to ensure a quick and effective recovery.

“There’s a huge amount of data which needs to be assembled, filtered and then displayed in a way which is useful and instantly informative to users.

“It took a lot of discussion as team and hard work to create the product as it currently stands.”

The final product will involve a large amount of highly sensitive and confidential data – and when the programme was demonstrated to members of the AEM a dummy set of figures were used.

Mackenzie Ingham, 16, is also involved in the project, and hopes it will help him on his future career path.

He said: “I’m certainly looking at similar industries – possibly going into cyber security.

“There are so many paths which can be chosen, I’m keeping my options open for now.

“The CEO of one company said our dashboard showed ‘a lot of potential’ and we’ve been given feedback for the next stage of development.

“It’s fantastic we have had this opportunity to work with essentially some of the top 50 companies in the country, if not the world, and people on the highest levels in business are seeing what this team are capable of.”

Ben Scott, Programme Leader for Computing at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre, has been one of the tutors heavily involved in the project.

He said: “The AEM approached us as a College because of our expertise and our industry connections.

“This is a huge project and they wanted to be sure whoever took it on would be able to complete it. Our Students have excelled all expectations.

“It has been a real challenge and everyone has had to learn a lot at a very high level in a short space of time to complete this project to the standard they have – but it has been more than worth it.

“The experience they’ve had – working to a brief, working with a high level of expectation and tight delivery deadlines – it’s something you don’t normally experience in a classroom environment. I’m incredibly proud of everything they’ve achieved.”

The AEM has members from huge names in the industry such as Addison Precision, BAE, Safran Nacelles and Rolls Royce and is a collaboration between Lancashire County Council and the North West Aerospace Alliance.

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