UCL is partnering with ARM to launch a new education kit aimed at developing students’ Internet of Things (IoT) technical skills. The aim is to encourage more graduates to stay in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) related professions as statistics suggest half leave the sector to pursue careers in unrelated areas.
The ARM IoT Education Kit teaches students how to use the ARM mbed™ IoT Device Platform, create smartphone apps and control end devices such as a mini-robot or a wearable health device. It will be rolled out from September by UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in a week-long IoT module for full-time MSc and Continuing Professional Development students.
The course is designed to get students interested in starting their own IoT business or join companies such as ARM that are delivering technologies enabling the IoT to grow. It will also help to address concerns that many students taking engineering or technology at university are not pursuing related careers. The latest research carried out by UCL with Oxford Policy and Research in 2012 analyzed the career paths of students graduating from STEM-based courses. The study showed:
• Engineering courses: 36 percent of males and 51 percent of females took up non-STEM careers
• Technology: 44 percent of males and 53 percent of females took up non-STEM careers
• Computer Sciences: 64 percent of males and 66 percent of females took up non-STEM careers
“Students with strong science and mathematical skills are in demand and we need to make sure they stay in engineering,” said Mike Muller, chief technology officer, ARM. “The growth of the IoT gives us a great opportunity to prove to students why our profession is more exciting and sustainable than others. New technologies make it far easier to start a business and and there’s a huge appetite for highly motivated young people to help companies such as ARM deliver innovation that will shape the world’s future.”
The kit includes ARM mbed-enabled hardware boards from Nordic Semiconductor, software licenses from ARM and a complete set of teaching materials. UCL is also developing a second module for engineering undergraduates that would start in 2016.
“Many students are not following through to an engineering career and that is a real risk to our long term success as a nation of innovators,” said professor Izzat Darwazeh, head of communications and information systems at UCL Engineering Sciences. “Most students take engineering because they are driven to understand how the world works, from taking radios apart when they were children, to creating apps in high school. Engineering is about creative problem-solving and it’s exactly what we hope to instil in them again with the IoT Kit, which provides the tools and the knowledge to create devices and systems that could one day become best-sellers or even change our world.”
Earlier this month EngineeringUK called for more action to train and retain engineers, predicting a potential economic boost to the British economy of £27bn per year from 2022 if demand were new engineering jobs was filled.
The ARM IoT Education kit was unveiled earlier today at the Institute of Making in Central London. The Institute is a creative workshop which is open and free to everyone at the university and has more than 3000 student and staff users.
According to the Institute’s Director, Professor Mark Miodownik, a well-known BBC broadcaster and winner of the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books: “Engineering is fun, creative and rewarding and the potential for IoT to attract more people into engineering is huge. This new ARM IoT kit will help aid the skills shortage in engineering by encouraging students to dream up new, practical solutions that will change the world for the better.”