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Insight into manufacturing for first year engineering students

Engineering students at Land Rover's Halewood factory Engineering students at Land Rover's Halewood factory

Engineering students recently had the chance to see how the technologies and processes they cover in the lecture theatre work in real life, on a visit to Jaguar Land Rover's manufacturing plant in Halewood.

In total, 96 first-year students and 6 members of staff from the Engineering Department visited the car plant as part of the 'World of Manufacture' module. In their module feedback, the students were pleased that the visit helped them understand the sheer scale of the processes involved, allowing them to see first-hand the different stages involved in transforming computer-based designs and raw materials into a finished product.

As well as seeing how cars are assembled on a high-tech production line, the students also gained some insight into the economic and marketing considerations that shape the manufacturing process.

Reaction from the students was very positive. "You wouldn't normally get a chance to visit a massive factory like that", wrote one, and "I think it's important for engineers to understand all aspects of the manufacturing process from the raw material to the finished product."

"You cannot get this in a classroom or lecture theatre", added another.

Dr Allan Rennie, head of Lancaster University's Product Development Unit, and who teaches the manufacturing module, is keen to stress the importance of looking at real-world examples to support what students learn in lectures and tutorials.

"It's extremely important that we provide our students with these opportunities early in their time at University, in order that they can contextualize their learning so far, but also then have an appreciation for the lecture material that will be covered in subsequent years.

"These practical learning experiences, such as the Jaguar Land Rover visit, are key to showcasing future careers, and putting sectors allied to manufacturing in a positive light."

Fri 22 March 2013