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University of South Wales - Network75

Case study

“The scheme has been very beneficial for the company and we have been able to build up their confidence in using their skills and progress onto bigger projects. When students and graduates come into the workplace it can be a huge wake-up call and you can’t really expect people who have been in full-time education to be fully ready for the workplace. This kind of grounding in business from the age of 18 is invaluable and it gives you a great idea of what it takes to succeed in the workplace.”

Huw Williams SPTS Technologies’ Production Engineering Director

University: University of South Wales

Location: Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd

Programme: Network75

Introduction to the university and what engineering courses it offers

It gives engineering students and students from other disciplines the opportunity to combine study for a degree with work experience. 

Describe your partnership/your links in industry

There are fifty companies participating in the scheme ranging in size from SMEs to business units of multinational companies. One which has benefited from the scheme is Newport-based engineering company SPTS Technologies.

How do students benefit?

Under the terms of the scheme, the students complete their studies over five years. They work three days per week with an employer, spending two at the university whilst working through their holidays. Each student gets a bursary and the tuition fees are paid in addition to time off for holiday and study leave. Many get additional pay from their employer. The idea is to ensure that trainees graduate with academic and practical training which increases their employability.

The benefits of working and studying part-time are proved by the scheme having a 100% employability rate post-degree completion at the students host company. This is a fantastic feat and is one of the main reasons that Network75 has such a strong reputation within industry and higher education. 

How does the university benefit?

The University of South Wales can provide all students benefit from some of the very best degrees on offer, state of the art learning facilities and excellent teaching. 

How does industry benefit?

Research has shown that 70% of companies who have participated in work experience believed that Network75 undergraduates provide knowledge, expertise and qualities that non-graduate employees could not. These include: methodical thinking, management skills, ability to learn new skills more quickly, enthusiasm, transferable skills, general knowledge and technical/IT abilities.

The Network75 scheme helps to maximise growth in the area by facilitating exchanges of information and innovative knowledge between industry and HE. The project also contributes to the development of the region’s SME workforce through education and training of its potential and current employees.

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