In 2017, British inventor James Dyson founded his own Institute of Engineering and Technology located in Wiltshire. But what should a student expect?
Dyson is a household name in the UK. In the early 2000s it was reported that over 47% of UK households owned a Dyson vacuum cleaner, and since that time Dyson has branched out to produce other products such as hairdryers, washing machines, hand driers and electric fans.
Mr Dyson himself is a well-known and respected inventor that has amassed a net worth of over £7.8 billion. Having served as the Provost of the Royal College of Art from August 2011 to July 2017, it seemed only natural that Mr Dyson would want to explore further his passion for education and in 2017 his very own Institute of Engineering and Technology was opened within the campus of his Wiltshire Dyson headquarters. He said of his decision:
“The UK's skills shortage is holding Dyson back as we look to increase the amount of technology we develop and export from the UK … We are taking matters into our own hands.”
In September 2017, 33 undergraduate Engineers were accepted onto the four-year engineering degree. Over 850 students applied for 25 places on the course, and due to the exceptionally high calibre of candidates, 8 additional students were accepted.
In September 2018, the institute increased its intake further and a total of 43 undergraduate Engineers were accepted onto the course. Of the successful candidates, 40% were female compared with a 15% national average for engineering courses in other UK universities.
In a very experimental twist, students accepted into the Dyson Institute will not pay fees. Instead, they receive a salary of up to £18,000 in their first year, increasing over time until they graduate. The institute has partnered up with the University of Warwick which will present the overall degree. However, in time, Dyson is working on receiving accreditation to award the degree themselves.
The course is a four-year degree programme that covers the fundamentals of engineering in the first two years. In the latter two years, it then branches into specialised electronic and mechanical engineering content, relevant to the work done at Dyson.
The course is highly practical; a typical week sees students work alongside Dyson engineers for four days and then spend one day in the classroom. Undergraduates will be mentored by actual Dyson scientists and engineers throughout the course. Students will also have access to the widely experienced academics at the University of Warwick. This combination of teaching will see students learning high level science and engineering theory combined with practical real-life projects within the Dyson headquarters — an envious experience for the budding engineer/inventor.
In terms of student life, the facilities and living arrangements are particularly impressive. Recently the Times described the high-tech living pods for Dyson students as:
“… a vision of modular design. Inside, three of the walls are cross-laminated-timber-clad and the fourth is all glass, looking out across new lawns, architecturally planted wild flowers and, beyond the helipad, the Wiltshire hills.”
Students will have a truly unique experience that is a far cry from the often cramped and overcrowded accommodation that other universities offer. There is even opportunity to take cookery classes, use the latest high-tech gadgets for cleaning and take weekend trips to beautiful cities such as Bath and Bristol on the weekends.
The accommodation fees for first year Undergraduate Engineers are £550 per month (which includes all bills). The cost of accommodation is deducted from a student’s net salary each month.
Should it not be tempting enough that students will be paid to take the course, as long as you achieve a 2:1 result you will also have a guaranteed job offer to stay on and work for Dyson full-time post-graduation. Though the institute is in its early years of development, there seems to be very little downside to studying at Dyson.
Duncan Piper, the director of the institute has stressed that the course will not suit everybody however:
“As I say to every undergraduate who comes to our assessment centre, this is absolutely the wrong place for the vast majority of people,”
“We want a select group of people who want to learn in this particular way. We want them to deliver something valuable to Dyson while also learning something themselves. That’s not for everyone, which is fine.”
At present, the entry requirements for September 2019 are as follows:
Students must achieve AAB at A Level. All entrants must have achieved an A in Mathematics and an A in at least one other STEM subject. The third subject choice is flexible but would make sense to be in a complementing field.
The subjects Dyson will consider for the STEM requirement of a grade A at A Level (or equivalent) are as follows:
Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design and Technology [Product Design, Product Design (3D), Systems and Control], Electronics, Engineering, Mathematics & Further Maths, Physics.
Those who are offered a place must complete the Dyson Physics Summer School if they didn’t choose Physics as one of their A Level subjects before commencing the course.
Equivalent courses to A Levels such as the International Baccalaureate and BTEC will also be considered.
Dyson will also accept non-academic entrants who may be mature students with relevant experience. Those applying this way must:
“demonstrate a passion for engineering and technology”
The Dyson institute’s website also states the following:
“Being an Undergraduate at The Dyson Institute is academically, personally and professionally demanding. To be selected for the programme, we require you to be academically strong and able to demonstrate that you can cope with the professional demands that come with being in a workplace alongside studying.”
International students are welcome to apply to study at the Dyson Institute. However, as the course involves being paid for work, international students must already have the right to work full time and study in the UK. At present, the course is not eligible for visa sponsorship under UK immigration rules. Students will also need to achieve the entry requirements above or equivalent.
MP Robert Halfon (Chairman of the education select committee) has said that:
“The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology is the future — it's how all universities should be run. They really are ground-breaking and should be congratulated on their understanding of the future of education.”
Here at UK Study Centre we agree that the Dyson Institute offers a unique and exciting opportunity to the budding engineer student. We have helped hundreds of students gain access to some of the very best universities across the globe and we are always interested in assisting students who are hoping to study at new and exciting institutions. Our expert consultants can guide you through the admissions process and so much more. Get in touch here to find out more!