A finishing school is defined as a private school for girls that emphasizes cultural studies and prepares students especially for social activities. However, finishing school is being given a new twist in the UK.

Graduate engineers always have a learning curve when entering a particular industry even if their degree is targeted in general to that field of technology. The Automotive Academy in Birmingham, England is trying to get a head start on preparing graduate engineers who want to work in the auto industry to "hit the ground running" when they go to join their companies by designing a one-year so-called "graduate boot-camp finishing school" to fill the gap between academic studies and work.

The country's leading automotive companies support the Automotive Academy to develop a national approach to training in the industry and to validate approved courses, providers and assessors. It promotes skills improvements at all levels, from shop floor, right through to the boardroom, encompassing technical, leadership, management and support programs, and aims to ensure that England's automotive industry has access to cutting-edge skills that creates world-class productivity through globally competitive training.

The chief executive of the Academy is Dr. Alan Begg, who was Managing Director of T&N Technology, an automotive engineering center in the UK, and who spent some time in Detroit as Vice President of Technology when Federal-Mogul acquired T&N.

The course involves:

  • A two-week manufacturing operations placements to provide hands-on experience working in a manufacturing environment
  • Team development efforts to introduce and develop team leadership and management skills and explore problem-solving techniques
  • A foundation phase to provide the necessary fundamental knowledge, tools and techniques to support automotive placements
  • Three 6-12 week placements for each student in different companies An integrated project having an automotive theme

An assessment resulting in an NVQ Level 1V/V in engineering management as a stepping stone to Chartered Engineer status.

While the graduates of the automotive finishing school might not have the social graces acquired in a finishing school as defined, they will provide what the industry always said it needed-the best skills training specifically tailored to the needs of the automotive industry.

To learn more about The Auto-motive Academy, visit: www.automotive academy.co.uk