The goal is to support the growth of the region – Andrew McLaren is the new Fellow expert of Turku UAS
Turku University of Applied Sciences received a new addition to its Fellows with the addition of Dr Andrew McLaren. McLaren has long experience in developing education programmes in the UK.
Text: Siiri Welling
The new Fellow member of Turku University of Applied Sciences is Dr Andrew McLaren, Principal Teaching Fellow at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. McLaren has more than 25 years of engineering experience and his main technical area of expertise is material science.
He got to know Turku UAS mainly through CDIO. CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) is a network of higher education institutions and a developer community that aims especially at improving technology education. The network is chaired by Juha Kontio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Business of Turku UAS.
– I met Juha and his colleagues at many CDIO meetings. When I was told that a delegation from Turku UAS would be visiting Strathclyde, I thought it was a great opportunity to look for new ways to cooperate, says McLaren.
McLaren's Fellow work is intended to focus on developing degree programmes in the technology industry, which is why he is collaborating with Turku University of Applied Sciences' school of Technology Industry. McLaren sees similar challenges in Scotland and the Turku region: both locations have a strong desire to grow industrial activity and a need to train more engineers to support growth.
– Having been heavily involved in developing work-based learning programmes and apprenticeships in the UK, we are very interested in sharing our approaches to continuing education, work-based learning and training for learners working in industry with our Finnish colleagues. We, in turn, send some of our Master's students from Strathclyde to conduct group projects through Turku UAS and want to grow this activity and strengthen connections with industry in the Turku region. Turku UAS' Fellow programme offers an opportunity to deepen cooperation in these matters.
International experience helps to develop
Mika Lohtander, Head of Education and Research of Technology Industry, is pleased with the new reinforcement and the opportunity to develop education together with an expert. In particular, Lohtander hopes that McLaren will promote the internationalization of students.
– One of Andrew's ideas has been to send students who are at the end of their studies to other universities for six months to do training programmes. Those programmes have been linked to industry and thus the students have gained diverse international experience. International experience helps us as a higher education institution to understand and implement the things that Southwest Finnish industry needs to compete globally, says Lohtander.
McLaren’s appointment lasts for five years. He plans to visit Turku regularly in the coming years to meet both colleagues and project students.
– Turku UAS colleagues have always been very friendly and cooperative. We share many of the same needs and opportunities and I look forward to building these partnerships," concludes McLaren.
Turku UAS’ Fellow expert system is a programme aimed at invited experts that aims at mutual exchange of information, expansion of the expert network and deepening of national and international cooperation in various fields. The programme was launched in 2016.