The geotechnical industry seems to be constantly bemoaning the lack of qualified staff and there seems to be no option but to help with the cost staff training, particularly as government funding for MSc courses is being withdrawn.
We have sponsored staff working for us through part-time masters courses but have not been approached by prospective masters students seeking sponsorship. It seems students do not know how to find us and vice versa.
My solution would be that MSc course providers ask companies whether they would be interested in sponsoring students. If yes, they would then be provided with details of individual courses, if necessary talk to or meet course leaders and even sit in on lectures to determine the suitability.
Each course would draw up a list of prospective sponsors. In their prospectus they could note that these sponsors exist and prospective MSc students could be given sponsors' details.
Candidates would then apply directly to the companies for sponsorship - the terms of funding and 'lock-in' clauses after the course is completed would be entirely a matter for agreement between them.
On the face of it this a win-win-win solution:
graduates get funding for courses; employers have the opportunity of choosing good candidates and getting better qualified staff; and universities get more MSc students.
Steve Branch, managing director, Geotechnical and Environmental Associates This year's review of masters level training starts on page 36.