Aeronautical engineering students at Glasgow, Loughborough and Southampton universities are having their career prospects boosted through a partnership with a virtual university.
BAE Systems, the company formed by the merger of British Aerospace with Marconi Electronic Systems, aims to spend well over Pounds 2 billion in a decade to twin world-class academic and business excellence through its virtual university.
After reviewing all United Kingdom undergraduate aeronautical and aerospace engineering courses, BAE Systems announced the "strategic partnerships" to develop undergraduate centres of excellence at the three institutions. It will help develop honours courses through joint curriculum advisory groups, teaching materials, sponsored final-year projects, visiting lecturers, industrial placements and staff exchanges.
A spokesman said that while BAE Systems would still offer careers and industrial placements to students from other institutions, it would work with the three universities to ensure that graduates from their courses were particularly well equipped for careers with the company.
"We will ensure that graduates view BAE Systems as their employer of choice, continuing their professional development through into employment," he said. The virtual university's managing director and vice-chancellor, Geraldine Kenney-Wallace, recruited from the University of Toronto, Canada, said the aerospace industry was a vital contributor to the UK economy. Its continued success depended on attracting the brightest and the best to the industry.
BAE System's faculty of engineering and manufacturing technology chose the three universities because of the scope of their courses, the high entry standards, teaching quality and research excellence.