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Building talent in Power Electronics, Machines and Drives

Newcastle University is to lead new institute to support training and skills development in the field of Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD).

25 October 2022

Newcastle University is to lead new institute to support training and skills development in the field of Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD).

The Institute of Electrification and Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing' (IESAM) will be first to address industry needs by developing a flexible, high-quality PEMD training pipeline in the North East. The project brings together the North East Institute of Technology and key regional higher and further education providers and is funded by the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK for UK Research and Innovation and co-funded by Newcastle University.

Launching in November 2022, and estimated to benefit 7,500 learners, the institute will create PEMD content to enrich T-level, Higher Technical Qualifications as well as Advanced and Degree Apprenticeship programmes.  IESAM’s curriculum development team will be closely working with its education and industry partners to ensure that current and future industrial needs are reflecting in the education offer, including Robotics, Automation and Control, and Digital Manufacturing.

IESAM will also offer a Level 6 PEMD degree apprenticeship programme, short courses to support professional development and an online toolkit for careers advisors in schools, colleges and Job Centres to inspire young people towards further and higher education and careers in PEMD.

Newcastle University will lead a consortium comprised of key FE and HE providers across the North East region. The HE partners are Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, and Teesside. The FE partners will principally be represented by the North East Institute of Technology, a partnership of FE colleges led by New College Durham. In addition, NCG will bring not just its regional but also national dimension to the partnership.

Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, said: “I am really excited about the launch of IESAM: it is a true collaboration that will support the work of industry, universities, colleges and government to grow the UK PEMD supply chain, providing new jobs in the region and helping the global transition to net zero.

“The launch builds on success of the Newcastle University-led DER Industrialisation Centres and is critical in supporting industry as they build this PEMD supply chain.”

Dr Matthew Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Control of Electrical Power at Newcastle University’s School of Engineering is the project lead. He said:

“Power Electronics, Machines, and Drives (PEMD) manufacturing is a fast moving and exciting field to work in.  It is at the heart of many well recognised applications, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy systems.

“Many High-value Power Electronics, Machines, and Drives businesses have planned investment that will confirm the North East of England as a UK leader in electrification and advanced digital manufacturing. However, there is an urgent PEMD skills shortage and training challenge in the North East.

“To address this challenge, IESAM will be a coordinated front door for PEMD training, providing ease of access to training at all levels. In collaboration with industry partners, IESAM will deliver flagship modules and training materials which primarily focus on application, practice, and industrial relevance. Learners will gain enhanced transferrable skills, gain greater exposure to PEMD manufacturing challenges, and become industry ready.”

Addressing the current and future skills challenges in the region

Professor René Koglbauer, Dean of Lifelong Learning and Professional Practice, Newcastle University, added:

“With the launch of IESAM, Newcastle University reconfirms its commitment to making a contribution to addressing the current and future skills challenges in the region and beyond. At the same time it is a recognition that this is only possible by utilising our strong partnerships with HE and FE education providers in the region as well as our industry partners.

“In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to the three regional consortia leads of the Local Skills Improvement Plans to ensure that synergies between the LSIPs and IESAM’s objectives can be aligned and maximised.”

Dr Sharon Grant, Director of North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT) said:

“The North East Institute of Technology, established in 2020 as part of a national network introduced by the government as a new initiative to help address the skills gaps in higher technical education, is committed to driving economic growth in the region by ensuring learners are knowledge and skills ready when joining the workforce.

“This invaluable IESAM collaboration will ensure that the learner experience in PEMD is cohesive and of the highest quality. It will enable clear progression across education at all levels, with direct links into local industry leading to long-term rewarding careers in electrification. This flagship project will allow for meaningful initiatives across FE and HE providers and representatives from industry to ensure the North East is pro-active in building its talent for the future. Through the IESAM Project Partner Board, the NEIoT will be able to support and facilitate all aspects of the work.”