First auto-engineering programme in English at Thammasat University
Bangkok Bank and the Siam Motors Group are providing financial assistance and equipment to a new automotive-engineering English programme at Thammasat University, "Auto TU", to help solve the shortage of engineers skilled in English in the country's booming automotive industry.
Auto TU, which will start in June, is the first English-language programme for automotive engineering in Thailand, said Thammasat rector Somkid Lertpaitoon.
The programme required a budget of Bt200 million, of which the first Bt100 million is for construction of a new building on the university's Rangsit campus.
Bangkok Bank will grant Bt30 million for the programme, while the Siam Motors Group will give scholarships and provide automotive equipment to the faculty.
Auto production this year is expected to increase to between 2.5 million and 2.6 million units from 2.4 million last year.
Four of the country's higher-education institutes produce about 300 to 400 graduates per year in the automotive-engineering field, which is not enough to serve the demand of industry, especially for people competent in English.
More English-skilled engineers will be needed when the Asean Economic Community is implemented in a couple of years, Somkid added.
The new Thammasat programme will accept 60 direct-admission students per year. Third-year students will be sent to train in Japan and companies in the Siam Motors Group.
The rector added that the university planned to accept foreign students for the next phase, adding that students from Vietnam were interested in automotive-engineering programmes in Thailand because this country is an auto-manufacturing base.
Pornthep Pornprapha, president of the Siam Motors Group, said the shortage of skilled workers was a problem for the auto industry, especially the dearth of people with English skills. He added that his company had a few English-speaking staff.
The Siam Motors Group will give 12 scholarships annually for the first three years of the programme, he said.