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New STEM faculty launches at Arden University to address the UK skills gap

Students sat on steps looking at laptop

Arden University (@Arden_Uni), a leading UK-based provider of flexible, online and blended learning, has launched a new Faculty of STEM and appointed two senior academics to support its development and growth.

Professor Georgina Harris, the new Dean of the Faculty of STEM and Professor Jonathan Lawrence, Head of School of Engineering, will be tasked with creating programmes which deliver the vocational skills required to help graduates enter STEM careers and address a crippling skills gap in the sector.

These academics bring with them a combined 40 years’ worth of experience in engineering and academia. Georgina joins from the University of Salford, where she was Director of Engineering, while Jonathan moves across following a spell at Coventry University.

Arden University, which boasts study centres in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Berlin,  aims for its new faculty to tackle the well-documented shortage of STEM graduates in the UK by improving access to STEM courses through blended and distance learning options.

The faculty will initially focus on engineering and computing, and will explore links between traditional and cyber skills to produce graduates with the capabilities needed in the workforce.

Engineering graduates in particular are vital to solving many of society’s most pressing issues such as achieving net zero and meeting COP26 pledges. Yet there’s a reported gap of 60,000 graduates per year in the sector, according to Engineering UK, with 46 per cent of employers admitting to facing difficulties in recruitment.

To tackle this, Arden University’s Faculty of STEM will place a heavy focus on industry-recognised qualifications and employer input, with courses rooted in the latest research and employer insights. As with all its faculties and schools, the courses will be aimed at developing students so they are work-ready with the right skills for the future.

Georgina Harris, Dean of the Faculty of STEM, said:

“The well-publicised shortage of new entrants into the STEM professions is a real challenge for UK businesses. It’s vitally important for the future of society to get talent into the STEM industry and therefore we need to develop graduates who are work-ready and highly-skilled.

“For this reason, we’ll be working to deliver high-quality vocational degrees focused on real-world skills and live projects, enabling us to prepare students for the workplace and address the national skills gap.”

Professor Helen Scott, Deputy Vice Chancellor, said:

“It’s great to be able to welcome Georgina and Jonathan to the Arden University team. This is a really exciting period of growth for the university and shows our commitment to addressing the STEM skills gap through industry-recognised degree programmes.

“We look forward to working with the team and welcoming our first students onto the new courses as our faculty continues to grow.”

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