A unique new qualification offered by City of Glasgow College is future proofing job opportunities for a new generation of engineers

ONE forward-thinking college is gearing up to introduce Scotland to a new concept in engineering.

The extreme rate at which technology is developing during the “fourth industrial revolution” is creating a demand for people who can combine practical skills with knowledge of new processes. 

In recognition of this rapid change, City of Glasgow College has is invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment to offer the mechatronics course and provide engineering students with the skills for our rapidly evolving world. 

City of Glasgow College is currently recruiting students to undertake an HNC in Mechatronics, which combines electrical and mechanical engineering with software engineering. 

It is believed to be the first course of its kind in Scotland. 

Stuart Logan, curriculum head for Electric and Electronic Engineering describes the move as “the most exciting development” during his career at the college.

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The college’s Riverside campus, home to the Faculty of Nautical and STEM, has installed an advanced manufacturing centre equipped with flexible integrated assembly systems that comprise an automation process, programmable logic controllers (plc) and a robotic interface. 

Mr Logan says: “Systems have evolved so much young people need software knowledge and understanding as well as mechanical and electrical skills. 

“This new course brings in all the traditional skills but will also encompass new digital technologies to provide learners with a more rounded learning experience. 

“We want our young people to have these skills to provide a base that will enable them to prosper at all levels of industry. 

“They should be able to take a process from start to finish and look intelligently at fault diagnosis to find rapid solutions.” 

The course will be suitable for school leavers as well as mechanical and electrical engineers needing to update skills. 

Joe Mulholland, Associate Dean for Electrical, Electronic, Automation and Digital Technology, agrees it is a unique offering.

“By combining the digital curriculum areas of software development, data analytics and cyber security and mixing them with electrical and mechanical engineering we are doing something not done before. 

“The college has been insightful in bringing these areas together under one curriculum. 

“Mechatronics is a combination of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, hydraulics and pneumatics, and we want to get digital technologies into this mix as this is what engineers will need,” he says.  

“The college has invested in an automated production line to provide our students with the required skills for fault diagnosis, system design installation, assembly production line operational skills and system programming for the assembly lines.  

“Automated systems will need people with skills to design, create and install. 

“People must be re-deployed through up-skilling opportunities to take advantage of new roles that will emerge. 

“These systems will also require expertise in programming, data analytics and cyber security. 

“City of Glasgow College is at the forefront of shaping future training in areas sought after by employers in order to give our students the best possible life opportunities. This presents us with a huge challenge I’m confident we will rise to.”

Skye’s the limit for STEM enthusiast 

Final year student Skye Kirwan teams up with a group of fellow science undergraduates to visit schools and populate social media to inspire a change in direction  among young girls 

Sisters are doing it for themselves at City of Glasgow College and leading the charge to encourage more girls into STEM subjects.  
Only 15% of women are in STEM jobs in the UK, despite making up about half the workforce. But HND Computer Science student, Skye Kirwan, and her fellow female students, are trying to change that.

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INSPIRING: Skye Kirwan helped to set up the college’s STEMGirl Society.

The 20-year-old is a leading voice within the college’s STEMGirl society which promotes science, technology, engineering and maths to female students. A former pupil of Largs Academy, Skye always enjoyed maths and knew early on she wanted to study an analytical subject. 

Now in her final year, the computer student was attracted to Scotland’s Super College by its ultra-modern campus facilities, impressive record of achievement in technical subjects and its city centre location. 

“The college’s teaching reputation and the level of support available also influenced my choice, as well as its positive atmosphere.” Skye has become a pivotal figure in the college’s STEMGirl society, set up with fellow students, Shiksha and Madihah. 

They were inspired after the college enrolled them onto Dell’s STEM Aspire programme that mentors female STEM students. As part of its ongoing commitment to STEM, City of Glasgow College carries out a tremendous amount of work to promote gender equality and encourage women into these areas. 

A gender action plan, developed in partnership with Equate Scotland, has seen commitments made to tackling imbalance through positive action. Skye was recruited as an Equate Scotland Student Champion for the college, together with classmates Amie and Karolina. 

The club has a presence on social media and it is attracting female students from related courses. 

“Our Students’ Association helps market the society and we receive support from Equate Scotland. Currently we have about 15 active members who regularly attend our meetings and events,” says Skye.

As part of its programme of activities, the club visits schools to talk to female pupils, and regularly hosts speakers such as Lorna Bennet who won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Women’s Engineering Society (WES) prize last December.

There is still much progress to be made but for Skye and her fellow STEMGirls the future is all about possibilities.