Engineering firms in the East Midlands can find out how they could benefit from a funding boost for work placement students enrolled on a new University of Derby Masters Degree (MSc) course, next week.

An information event is being hosted at the University of Derby Corporate’s Enterprise Centre on Wednesday, 21st May from 4-6pm to offer further information on the MSc in Innovative Engineering Solutions, which begins in September 2014.

Up to 50 employers are sought to offer a placement period to students – and companies are being given up to £4,000 for each individual they take on as well as a unique opportunity to play a role in developing the engineers of the future.

The £4,000 funding is being offered to eligible SMEs who sign up to the programme, by Enscite, the new partnership between the University of Derby, Derby City Council and Aston and Cranfield universities.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Enscite offers a range of support services to help small businesses win and grow business in the aerospace, automotive and rail sectors.

Professor Patrick Kniveton, head of engineering improvement at Rolls Royce Submarines and president of the institution of mechanical engineers (IMechE), will give a short presentation at the event on the value of working with universities and placement students.

It is all part of a £1.3m initiative to help plug a UK skills gap in vital engineering skills – and give students a free postgraduate education.

Angela Dean, head of School of Engineering and Technology, said: “I strongly urge employers to come along next week to take advantage of this exciting offer, which also gives them a chance to play a vital role in helping to provide the skills necessary for students to flourish. They will also be influencing the development of an innovative new programme of study and be able to develop a training programme that suits the needs of their organisation. Funding is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Enscite representatives will be on hand at the employer event to supply further information.”