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£16m engineering academy opens at Aston University

The Aston University Engineering Academy officially welcomed its first students last week, with its aim to develop a creative and innovative workforce for the future.

The £16.5million University Technical College (UTC) allows students aged from 14 to 19 to specialise in engineering and science alongside core subjects in English, mathematics, languages and business. The academy, the first UTC to be sponsored by a university, is also the first in the UK to deliver apprenticeships.

Based at Birmingham Science Park, Aston and developed in partnership with Birmingham City Council, the teaching facility will accommodate 600 students, offering them the opportunity to work with leading engineering firms and businesses, including Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, National Grid, Eon and Goodrich.

Lee Kilgour, principal of the Aston University Engineering Academy, said the academy's aim was very much to develop a new generation of engineers and scientists both locally and nationally.

"The UK is currently facing significant shortages of appropriately qualified engineers in the UK, and we need to bridge this skills gap," he said. "Our employer- led apprenticeship programme will ensure young people are able to gain highly regarded, high quality technical qualifications. Our innovative approach to learning focused on industry will ensure our young people are able to develop the skills they need for the workplace. We want to inspire the next generation of young men and women and ensure the UK has an engineering workforce capable of leading the world in current and emerging technologies."

Professor Dame Julia King, vice chancellor at Aston University, added: "Birmingham has a great industrial history and I'm absolutely delighted that we have the opportunity to continue developing this proud engineering and manufacturing heritage. Aston University working alongside the Engineering Academy and key employers are developing and delivering a curriculum capable of playing a key role in addressing the manufacturing and engineering technical skills gap in both the West Midlands region and the UK as whole."

Author
Laura Hopperton

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