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Brunel shines as employability initiative is shortlisted for national award

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Brunel University has been nominated for a Guardian University Award for an innovative project to enhance the education of design students and enable them to tackle emerging requirements in the lighting industry.

The Award, for the best Employability Initiative, recognises the University’s work since May 2012 with the Lighting Education Trust (LET), which represents major professional bodies in the UK lighting industry. The partnership aims to help establish the UK as a leading global centre of lighting design expertise, and is based on two key opportunities in the marketplace: firstly, to capitalise on the UK’s pre-eminence in this area and create specialist environmental lighting engineering that adheres to global lower-energy lighting legislation; and secondly, to train students specifically to become lighting experts, with a foundational mix of both design and engineering expertise. 

Collaborative activities designed to exploit these opportunities have included establishing a specialist optional lighting module, integrating more industry-led project work, increasing the numbers of year-long industry placements and providing the opportunity for students to graduate with an industry-led professional diploma in lighting in addition to their degree. 

Product and Industrial Design courses at Brunel have historically been distinguished by the combination of design with a strong element of technology, and the University’s commitment to embedding work experience in the curriculum has already resulted in very high employability ratings for Design graduates. The collaboration with the LET builds on these existing strengths, so that Brunel graduates can enter the field of lighting design with qualifications and a body of knowledge and skills which the LET have identified as unique in the world.

Brunel Lecturer in Design Stephen Green said: "Recognition by this important national award scheme is great endorsement of what we have been doing in various ways for many years - making really worthwhile links with industry. I hope all the students, staff and key industry figures involved in this project share the pride I feel - even more so if we win on 27 February!" 

Nominees for the Guardian University Awards were chosen by universities, university departments, professionals working in the higher education sector, students and graduates for their initiatives, services and excellence. The Employability Initiative category rewards “innovative and strong relationships with businesses and industry”, which provide the “best chances for graduates in the world of employment”.

Winners will be announced on the Guardian Higher Education Network on Thursday 28 February 2013.