Creating your own talent pool , the way forward ?

(Photo from : the best you magazine)

James Dyson has been complaining for a long time about the shortage of British engineers graduating from universities. Within one of these complaints after meeting the minister Jo Johnson, Dyson argued: “He said: Well, why don’t you do your own university? I thought that was a very good idea, so that’s exactly what we’re doing”.

Dyson is recognised for his creation of the Dual Cyclone bag less vacuum cleaner, a principle design which has been adapted to several over daily products such as hair dryers and hand dryers. His story is about determination and attention to the detail. For instance, in the £250m Dyson’s technology campus there were people measuring the size of Cheerios as they “are something that people have difficulty picking up”. With such sophistication the new School may be in track of producing amazingly high-skilled engineers.

The entrepreneur is spending £15m in setting up the Dyson Institute of Technology. It will provide students with a 4-year free-fees degree and an annual salary starting at £15,000 in the first year as they will be working in “on-live projects”. This remarkably specialised atmosphere, may offer the university experience by creating a campus quad with its facilities and even allowing alcohol.

While the negotiations to allow the Institute awarding powers are still on, it is partnering with the University of Warwick. Anyway, this new School is a turning point on the education system. What if entrepreneurs from different fields decide to create their own talent pool? Do these students have this all for free? What if lecturers are biased by the sponsor’s philosophy?

According to Dyson, the students will go on a contract with the Institute at the end of the degree and every discovery will belong to the Institute, what he says it is “common law”. Besides, he does not think that graduates will be only employed by Dyson because what he is doing will increase the British engineer’s ability to compete with America or highly innovative Asian countries. In words of the Universities minister Jo Johnson: “The Dyson Institute of Technology will not only offer students the chance to study cutting-edge degree-level programmes, it will also play a vital role in educating the next generation of much needed engineers.”


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Finally, what about other disciplines? Dyson argues this system may work for pure sciences, but other subjects such as languages should be studied at university. He also makes a distinction between people that would better belong in this specialised Institute or in a University. However, this is only for us to decide which kind of experience we want to live.

The Dyson Institution of Technology is opening its doors on 2017 and from the University of Leeds we would like to challenge the Dyson Foundation to inspire as many students as possible, especially women, to finally tackle the engineer gap.

By Gema Sancho-miñana

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