Coventry University students gain key industry knowledge during visit to Jaguar Land Rover as part of work to support regional economy

A male and female student standing next to a car

Student Shuruthi Soruben and Alastair Claydon

University news

Tuesday 09 April 2024

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Students from Coventry University joined those from Birmingham City University (BCU) and the University of Wolverhampton to visit one of the UK’s most important engineering companies as part of a collaboration aimed at supporting regional economic growth and improving student experience.

The universities are working together as part of the West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU), which is focused on encouraging businesses, staff and students to come together and tackle regional issues impacting the local economy.

A key focus of the WMCU includes closing the skills gaps in the engineering, built environment and manufacturing sectors.

An event held at Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) West Midlands plant marked the first in-person project delivered through the collaboration, allowing engineering students across the universities to gain knowledge of the industry from a key regional manufacturer.

The visit consisted of a networking session, followed by a panel session with current undergraduate and graduate students working at JLR. Students also had an opportunity to put their engineering skills to the test by taking part in a Lego activity.

I came here to see what kind of areas I could go into, what sort of stuff makes me more marketable and how I can improve my chances of getting a job at the end of my degree.

It was really useful to hear from the graduates, to think ‘hang on - they’ve been in my shoes, they know what I’m going through’. The biggest way my course has helped me is showing me how to approach deadlines and how to work well with other people.

Alastair Claydon, Motorsport Engineering student at Coventry University

It’s been really great and it was nice to hear from the panellists. What I could relate to, which I wasn’t expecting, was a female aerospace student at Swansea - it was nice to hear her perspective on working at JLR.

I feel like my course has really helped us with hands-on skills, we’re doing a lot of CAD at the moment, we’ve done quite a lot of MATLAB and working with lots of different software which I wasn’t expecting, but I’m really glad I’ve gone into it.

Shuruthi Soruben Aerospace student at Coventry University

Our work within WMCU helps to open up new and exciting opportunities for our students and this visit to JLR, one of the region’s largest engineering companies, is a fantastic example of this.

We are proud to see our graduates enter the workforce in the vital UK engineering sector and it’s great that JLR are supporting graduate recruitment within our region.

Gareth Lewis, Associate Director of Business Development at Coventry University

We’ve invited students to take an introductory journey into life at JLR, so that we can explain who we are, what we’re about and what the global opportunities are for undergraduates coming into the business.

We’ve got a long, cherished history with Coventry University, partly because we’ve got quite a few facilities in that area.

There are the affiliations in terms of academia, knowledge and talent, and there’s lots of reciprocal activities we do - whether it’s conferences or research centres, that bond and that relationship has lasted for a long time and there’s no reason why it can’t for many, many more years to come.

Curtis Hilton, Castle Bromwich Operations Director at JLR

West Midlands Combined Universities works collectively to support regional economic growth and student experiences. Strong, effective relationships with leading industrial companies in the region are a core area of activity for the WMCU.

We are therefore absolutely delighted to see year on year growth and the strengthening of activity between our three Universities and JLR.

Working together we will continue to offer innovative and exciting experiences to support JLR to find their workforce of the future.

Wayne Langford, Director of WMCU

Our involvement in the WMCU collaboration is focused on encouraging the cross-pollination of innovations and ideas, ensuring local industries remain future-ready.

Our students benefit greatly from our collaboration, and we will continue to support the delivery of events and opportunities resulting from this alliance.

Joanna Birch, Director of Innovation, Enterprise & Employability at BCU

Leading up to the visit, WMCU ran a series of digital sessions designed to encourage and support our students to apply for placements and graduate roles at JLR, channelling students and graduates into skilled employment within the region.

The University of Wolverhampton is committed to producing graduates who can apply both theory and practice in the industry, offering them hands-on experience to equip them with real-world skills to boost their employability which is why events like this are so important.

This visit was a marvellous opportunity for our Engineering students, and it was wonderful to see it so well attended by the universities.

The West Midlands Combined Universities collaboration is a great vehicle to showcase the contribution higher education makes to the West Midlands and wider region but also focuses on some of our amazing industry connections, like the one with JLR, which offer a wealth of potential graduate opportunities.

Dr Aman Dhir, Head of Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton

The work ties into the strategic direction of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Local Authorities, National Government, Funding Bodies and key traditional and emerging industrial sectors.

Find out more about Engineering at Coventry University.