Sheffield students in major degree course shake-up

Professor Paul White, Sheffield University.
Professor Paul White, Sheffield University.

Leading businesses are being offered the chance to team up with Sheffield University students to tackle some of the biggest global challenges around as part of the biggest shake-up to degree courses in more than 20 years.

Achieve More will give students the chance to create links and work in partnership with businesses, community groups and charity organisations to transform people’s lives, not only in the city but across the world.

The landmark project marks a first for a UK university and is a major curriculum change to be introduced across all the institution’s degree programmes.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul White said: “Creating links for local businesses and community groups to be involved will benefit everyone - bringing bright students and various enterprises in the city together to work on important local and global issues.

“It can sometimes seem to outsiders as if students lead isolated lives, in communities consisting only of people like themselves.

“We have a wonderful record of our students interacting more broadly with the city region - through enterprise activities, community volunteering and outreach support in schools.”

The scheme will become a compulsory part of all degree courses, and aims to set Sheffield students apart boosting their employability and work-based skills.

The idea behind the project was developed from the successful Global Engineering Challenge, which has been taking place in the Faculty of Engineering since 2011.

The challenge encouraged students to think outside their own specialism and work alongside professional industry experts, resulting in the invention of a number of life-changing developments.

These ranged from a window handle for people suffering with arthritis and a mixing bowl to help a disabled youngster learn to cook, to researching alternative fuel sources for a small community in India and a special walking frame to help children with a rare bone disease.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching Anne Peat, said: “The skills learned will include problem solving, project managing and an experience of working with groups outside the university.

“Employers tell us that this is just the sort of programme they would like to see more students take.”

Students could find themselves working with university partners such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce or Unilever.