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Employer engagement ‘central’ to the development of new Engineering Academy

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Last year, funding was secured to build a new £15.2m centre for learning in Birmingham. The Aston University Engineering Academy will be the first new build, major university-led University Technical College (UTC) in the country and it is being created in partnership with Birmingham City Council. When completed, it will cater for 600 pupils aged between 14 and 19 years old and will play a crucial role in delivering knowledge and skills through the specialisms of engineering and science.

Academy students will specialise in engineering and science alongside core subjects in English, maths, languages and business. The specialist education offered by the Academy will ensure that the UK has the skilled employees available for vital future projects such as building wind farms, developing carbon –efficient housing and constructing high speed rail links. Young people with a good technical education will be essential for ensuring that the UK can compete and lead the world in these new technologies.

 The Aston University Engineering Academy is keen to develop strong links with local and national industry to ensure its curriculum is employer led, with real life challenges as part of the curriculum. When students go on work experience placements, the experience will link directly to classroom work. Lee Kilgour, Principal Designate of the new Academy, is actively looking for employers to work with as formal sponsors or informal partners, as their input is central to the development of the Academy. Lee said, “The Academy’s employer engagement is not just about apprenticeships, it will permeate all aspects of the curriculum”.

Employers are encouraged to have early input into the development of the curriculum, to ensure that students’ learning in Engineering and Science matches the needs of the local and national economy and also reflects the future needs of the particular sector in which they work. Aston University Engineering Academy opens to its first students in September 2012, and employers can continue to engage with the Academy through providing high quality work placements, mentoring students and allowing the Academy to use their specialist facilities to inform and inspire students to pursue a career in their industry. Large, medium and small private sector companies as well as large public sector organisations will all have a valuable role to play.

You can find out more about how your company can get involved with Aston University Engineering Academy contact Lee Kilgour on 0121 204 4643 or email at lee.kilgour@aston.ac.uk

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research