New Diploma to encourage next generation of engineers

5 November 2008

Aston University is supporting a new Engineering Diploma, to encourage talented teenagers into the industry and tackle the current engineering skills shortage.

Thirty two 14 year old boys and girls, from five schools across the south of Birmingham are involved in the government’s pilot scheme, which is being run by Frankley City Learning Centre and backed by Aston University in Birmingham.

The students are studying for the Higher Level Diploma, which is the equivalent to seven GCSE’s and combines hands on engineering with academic study. It can be used as a stepping stone to an Advanced Diploma, A-Levels and future University study.
The Schools involved are, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury Technology College in Bourneville; Four Dwellings High School & Specialist Science College in Quinton; Frankley Community High School in Frankley and Turves Green Girls’ School and Technology College and Turves Green Boys’ Technology and Humanities College in Bromsgrove.

The two-year course is aimed at 14-year-olds and is designed to have strong links with Midlands-based industries. LandRover, Cadburys, EEF, and the RAFare just some of the companies already expressing interest in taking students on placements. Aston University Engineering students will also be acting as Mentors for the Diploma students during their time on the course.

Val Allen, Manager at Frankley City Learning Centre, believes strong links between academia and industry is the way forward to encourage teenage boys and girls into engineering.
 “There are a wealth of opportunities available for engineers and this course is a great opportunity for students to gain an excellent qualification and a real understanding of the whole industry, she said.”

Aston University Pro-vice Chancellor and Physicist, Professor Alison Halstead, who is on the Diploma Steering Group, said; “I’ve held a series of meetings with leading Industry figures, who are extremely excited by the prospect of forming new partnerships with promising trainee engineers. We currently have a shortfall in skilled engineers, but we believe combining hands-on work alongside academic study will encourage teenagers into a future career in engineering.”

In addition to supporting the new qualification, Aston University will also be hosting a National Royal Academy’s Engineering Event on December 5th, for staff currently delivering the Engineering Diploma all over the UK.

For further information on the new Engineering Diploma visit http://yp.direct.gov.uk/diplomas/subjects/Engineering/index.cfm

For further information on studying Engineering and Applied Science at Aston, click here.