• From Cambridge to Jordan – Bridging the Gap Between Technical Education and Industry Demands

    SMF Nick Sullivan, co-founder and managing director of Heritage Independent Living, is one of many Sainsbury Management Fellows at the forefront of initiatives that help business and industry grow and thrive.

    Nick was recently invited to give a presentation at the Amman Chamber of Commerce in Jordan on an innovative Roadmapping project that he is leading on behalf of Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). The project is funded by the Newton Khalidi Fund and administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which also administers the Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship of which Nick was a beneficiary enabling him to study for an  MBA at INSEAD.

    “The Newton Khalidi Fund is being used to establish a Roadmapping capability at the Al Hussein Technical University (HTU), which was established by Jordan’s Crown Prince Foundation.  HTU provides excellent, rigorous and industrially-relevant technical education that enables its graduates to obtain quality employment and to contribute to the development of Jordon’s industry, economy and society. The Roadmapping project bridges the gap between technical education and industry demands,” said Nick, who is now teaching and embedding the fast-track approach to Roadmapping at the university.

    Following initial successful workshops, Nick and his colleagues are looking at helping HTU to work directly with industry and particularly with SMEs.

    Nick explained: “SMEs all over the world have similar challenges, a pressing one is time constraint.  Typically, the senior members of the team wear multiple ‘hats’, managing many tasks and they have little time to take a step back from the detail of the business to focus on strategic matters.   Their knowledge of available markets and best practice also tend to be limited.  Our intention is to develop the Roadmapping capability at HTU to enable them to use a range of tools and techniques developed by Cambridge University IfM to tackle such challenges.  Many of these tools have already been used extensively within UK SMEs.”

    The programme will focus on specific industry sectors.  As Jordan already has a well-developed Computer & Informatics Industry, the next HTU roadmapping workshop will look at other major industry sectors including Energy, Engineering, Technology, Architecture/Civil/Construction, and Manufacturing – the SME tools and techniques are especially pertinent to the manufacturing sector.

    HTU’s programme not only develops the fast-track roadmapping capability, Nick and his team are delivering advice and support.  Initially, Nick and his team will train HTU practitioners at Cambridge University; they will then work with SMEs with HTU personnel shadowing them, and then HTU will work directly with SMEs with Nick providing support as and when needed.

    “We are all very excited about the potential of HTU’s educational programme and we believe it will have significant trickle down effects on the growth of small businesses and the economy in the coming years.”

     

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