Hi-tech firms will be getting a graduate boost

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THE hi-tech science industries in Portsmouth and the surrounding area are set to get an injection of new blood, thanks to a new course at the city’s university.

The science faculty is running a new physics course which links up with local firms and has the students solve real problems for them, rather than hypothetical ones.

The course is proving so popular that around six students applied for each place.

Dr David Franklin, associate dean in the faculty, said: ‘The hi-tech industries are the future of the economy of the UK and we need graduates to go into these industries and take up these places and move the country on.

‘This is something that’s starting to happen across the UK.’

The idea is that students get the chance to visit local firms such as Astrium, BAE Systems, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Fish Guidance Systems in Bishop’s Waltham, and many more.

Then, in the second year, students are set real-life challenges to solve by the companies, rather than work through ‘abstract’ case studies set by the faculty.

The idea mirrors a move nationally to encourage more students to take up science courses or apprenticeships in order to develop further than UK’s manufacturing and engineering sector.

The course still has content laid down by the Institute of Physics, but it is its relationship with the businesses that sets it apart.

Dr Franklin added that he’d like to see students gaining vital work experience with local firms in a ‘sandwich’- style course.

‘Offering a sandwich course is something we’ll be looking at in the future,’ he said.