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BSW Timber, the largest timber business in the UK and a member of Binderholz, provide an annual guest lecture at Edinburgh Napier University, which has proved very popular with engineering management students across the institution.

This lecture provides BEng Engineering Design & Manufacture Graduate Apprenticeship students the opportunity to hear from BSW Timber’s industry experts about design, theory, and manufacturing, with advice on how they can get involved.

The relationship between the organisation and Edinburgh Napier has expanded over the years to include site visits, placements and student-lead projects, which feature research and improvements to machinery, efficiency and productivity.

These experiences are vitally important subject areas for Edinburgh Napier students, allowing them to get exposure to the real world of work. In addition to this, BSW Timber have offered their employees the chance to learn from Edinburgh Napier’s accredited engineering courses. For example, Mark Walker from BSW Timber in Dalbeattie is currently studying with students and working on electrical systems, sawmills and maintenance.

Alistair Stupart, Lecturer at the School of Computing, Engineering & Built Environment, said: “I am delighted, as Programme Leader for the BEng (Hons) Engineering Design & Manufacture programme, that a BSW student has joined the course as a Graduate Apprentice.”

There are major benefits to businesses who offer their staff the opportunity to enrol onto Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) courses, such as supporting their learning and development, while at the same time helping to ensure the continued flow of recruitment into sectors with a demand for highly skilled workers.

GA students such as Mark Walker have a demanding schedule, working full-time (80%), with his other time (20%) being the teaching he receives at Edinburgh Napier. However, the rewards can be worthwhile, as fees are paid, and an Honours degree can be achieved in four years. On top of this, new and improved skill sets can be developed and used at work and in the future.

BSW Timber benefit from working closely with Edinburgh Napier University in a number of ways:

  • Providing the ability to promote state-of-the-art manufacturing sites to potential employees, creating more awareness about timber manufacturing processes, and the significant part it has to play in building and engineering for the UK, and for achieving sustainability goals.
  • Presenting feedback from these visits allow us to gain insight into the student’s view of the organisation and how these views might help our industry going forward. Having site visits opens a transparent view of our operation and can build networks that offer potential solutions to everyday issues and future improvements.
  • Having a previous graduate accompanying these guest lectures offers students the opportunity to gain a first-hand insight into day-to-day operations, and what key areas are important, in advance of qualifying for the GA scheme. For our 2022 lecture, Stuart Fraser (former student now project engineer), will be presenting our latest return to Edinburgh Napier and giving a personal review of how the transformation from student to graduate in a business works with his road to becoming part of BSW Timber’s engineering project team.

Our business works closely with Edinburgh Napier, and as well as having a long tradition of student interaction in engineering, we have also worked in the past with Edinburgh Napier in the Centre for Offsite Construction & Innovative Structures, sponsoring a Built environment Exchange (BeX) student and assisting with details for an exhibition at Architectural Design Scotland.

Tony Lockey, Group Learning & Development Manager at BSW Group, said: “The BSW Group appreciate any opportunity to work with Edinburgh Napier University and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship. I’d like to personally thank Alistair Stupart for his continued sponsor of this event.”