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Siemens launch Digital Academy to develop the next generation of tech talent

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Siemens has announced the launch of a new undergraduate sponsorship programme to discover, inspire and nurture the next generation of engineering and tech talent.

The Digital Academy pays selected students £3,000-a-year from the second year of university as well as up to 12-weeks paid summer placement throughout the duration of their studies within a Siemens business. At the end of their degree they will be given the chance to join Siemens’ Graduate Scheme.

The programme is a partnership between Siemens, the University of Sheffield and Newcastle University. It aims to offer undergraduates a practical, collaborative space to explore Industry 4.0 technologies and put what they learn at university into real world use.

Six students from EEE (electrical and electronic engineering) and computer science departments have been selected to pilot the programme this summer.

Nikhil Patel and Miles Moran from Newcastle University, Thomas Edwards from the University of Sheffield, Diana Crintea from the University of Southampton, Maryem Khan from the University of Loughborough and Ariana Escobar Chalen from the University of Manchester were unveiled at a launch event at Siemens Digital Factory in Congleton.

Brian Holliday, Siemens digital industries managing director, said: 'The Digital Academy is another ground-breaking example of how Siemens and our higher education partners are working together to encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering and technology. This programme gives undergraduates applied and up-to-date experience to bolster their academic learning.'

'By strengthening links between business and our world-leading universities, we can inspire and nurture talent to support the UK’s leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.'

The first group of undergraduates were selected from the inaugural Sir William Siemens Challenge, a two-day hackathon-style event held at the University of Sheffield which involved 84 promising engineering students from partner universities. The challenge, dubbed ‘Mindsphere Live’, saw students put into 12 hybrid, multidisciplinary teams and asked to invent a unique device powered by data.

Ian Donald, Head of R&D at Siemens digital factory in Congleton, said: “We really want to develop the next generation of engineers who can create and develop new exciting things.

“The inaugural Mindsphere Live was a great way of bringing multi-disciplinary teams together to collaborate to bring data to life in a meaningful way.

“These real-life problems gave students the opportunity to experience things that they may encounter in a business environment and insight into what life could be like at Siemens.

“The Digital Academy takes that experience to the next level. It illustrates that engineering is a practical subject where the real and virtual worlds co-exist and where data plays an increasingly important part in creating value. It's not just about sitting at a computer, it's really hands. It's about interaction, working in teams to solve actual problems – which is what this pilot cohort will be doing this summer.”

One of those taking part in the pilot Digital Academy is Nikhil Patel, an electrical engineering undergraduate from Newcastle University.

Patel comments: 'I wanted to join the Digital Academy so that I could work with a world-leading organisation such as Siemens to enhance my knowledge of new technologies and allow me to work with a range of other people to not only help improve Siemens as a business but also to improve the connectivity of the world we live in. Being part of the Digital Academy gives me an insight into how Siemens operates as a business and it also provides me with the means to be able to make a difference. It gives me the opportunity to develop my technical and transferable skills whilst working on real, cutting-edge projects and I think that being a part of this scheme will help to accelerate my career progression and allow me to grow as an individual, with the help of Siemens.'