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Aston University wins funding to improve West Midlands skill set

03 October 2005

Aston University wins funding to improve West Midlands skill set

ASTON University is the only higher education institute in the Midlands region to have been awarded Leonardo da Vinci funding, an initiative set up by the European Commission to improve the mobility of students and professionals across the continent.

To win the funding the University had to show innovation and quality in their bid, as well as a co-ordination between the project and the development of the West Midland’s region.

Leonardo is the European Community’s vocational training programme and encourages collaboration between organisations involved in vocational training, aiming to improve the quality of training provision, develop the skills and mobility of the workforce, stimulate innovation and enhance the competitiveness of European industry.

Aston University has been awarded two sets of funding, one for approximately 80 undergraduate students to undertake 3 – 12 month work placements outside the UK but within the EU (including Eastern Europe), and one for 14 staff to participate in one - six week placements in universities or companies, again outside the UK but within the EU.

Workplace Training Liaison Officer, Sandra Hopkins, who applied for the funding said: ‘Students and staff will travel to businesses and education institutions within the EU and exchange best practice, ideas, innovation and knowledge as well as observing how the organisations run and the benefits and effectiveness of new technology and systems. They will then bring this knowledge back home with them.

‘For businesses within the West Midlands to remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace the region needs to become more able to compete more effectively with non-UK enterprises. By securing funding for our students and staff to participate in overseas placements, participants will acquire skills, European contacts, initiative, responsibility, cultural understanding, and an international outlook essential to improving the region’s skill set. It also ties in closely with the skill development work currently being undertaken by Advantage West Midlands (AWM).’

The funding, which will also help to attract more students to the region, is available to students of all disciplines across the University and will pay for one return journey, language preparation, insurance and subsistence. It is worth up to €5,000 per beneficiary.

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Written by Babs Coombes. For further information please contact me on 0121 204 4549 or email b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editor:

More information on Leonardo funding can be found at www.leonardo.org.uk

Aston University has secured mobility funding for undergraduate placements and staff/trainer exchanges.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research