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New drone courses address skills shortage in multi-million pound growth industry


18 January 2016

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Photo: Wrexham Glyndwr University lecturer Nathan Roberts discusses drone technology with Rob Bolam (fourth from left) and current engineering students

A new degree will equip professionals with the knowledge to design, build and safely fly their own drones to take advantage of a £15 billion industry which is revolutionising everything from agriculture to film-making.

Wrexham Glyndwr University is launching an MSc in Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Technology to meet growing demand for the commercial application of drones.

UASs are increasingly being used to monitor, research and conduct data gathering missions in agriculture, surveying, mining, forestry, ecology, archaeology and virtual reality gaming.

Rob Bolam, senior lecturer in engineering, said the degree would address a skills shortage in drone technology, which is predicted to be worth more than £15 billion over the next 10 years.

No engineering background is needed and people from any industry, employed or self-employed, are eligible to join the course.

Rob said: “Anyone can buy a cheap drone from an online or high street retailer and fly it themselves but few have the knowledge to create their own in a way which will deliver tangible commercial benefits.

“This is where we are seeing the biggest growth. For example in agriculture, drones can be used to assess crops and yields. This can be achieved by understanding the technologies behind the drone and then building one for a specific purpose.

“The course is not so much about training people to become pilots, it’s about providing the skills to extract and process data in a whole range of fields of study.”

The MSc will be taught by academics from Wrexham Glyndwr University’s engineering and computing departments.

Drone technology, operations and construction will be will be taught alongside legal requirements and measurement techniques.

A piece of land at the university’s Northop campus in Flintshire has been earmarked for testing of drones built by students, subject to approval from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The MSc in Unmanned Aircraft System Technology will be taught from September 2017, one year full-time or two years part-time.

The BEng (Hons) in Drone Technology and Operations also starts this September, available to study full time over three years.

Email enquiries@glyndwr.ac.uk or call 01978 293439 for any course enquiries.

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