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Aston University heads unique Midland's scheme

11th March 2003

Aston University heads unique Midland's scheme

ASTON University is leading the way in helping to tackle the substantial lack of sufficiently skilled workers in British industry by managing the West Midland Graduate Apprenticeship consortium*.

The unique scheme, funded by Advantage West Midlands, aims to combine academic knowledge with comprehensive industrial training by allowing students access to a wide variety of industrial placements while they continue their studies. This will improve the supply of well trained workers currently in demand for the future development of regional companies by bridging the skills gap between academic study and first employment. The GA scheme is uniquely designed to bring together the best of industrial training and the best of academia for the benefit of the graduate, or undergraduate, and business competitiveness. The education and training programme is mapped out in a jointly agreed Learning Contract tailored to meet the needs of the business and the GA candidate.

West Midland Graduate Apprenticeships (GAs) incorporate four principle elements: foundation training, work based training, higher education and key skills development which covers subjects such as engineering, IT, and telecommunications. It is anticipated that further regional GA schemes covering logistics, railway engineering, construction, health safety and environment will be added in the near future.

The flexible scheme is available to a wide range of people including school leavers, gap year students and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships; not just undergraduates or graduates as the name suggests. In addition, students that become involved in the initiative will receive a nationally recognised qualification that may lead to recognition by the professional institutions and chartered engineer status.

The programme is fast gaining recognition and has received strong support from the leader of Birmingham City Council. Councillor Sir Albert Bore said: "I am delighted to act as ambassador for this scheme. The West Midlands has always been at the forefront of industrial technology, and this project will provide highly trained, educated and motivated men and women that the region's prosperity depends on."

ENDS

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

*Notes to editors:

Other companies involved in the consortium include Matthew Boulton College, UCE, City College and the Engineering Employers Federation.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research