Published on 03/04/2023
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Bridget Phillipson MP and Anthony Hilton
  • Bridget Phillipson MP has served as shadow secretary of state for education since 2021 
  • She met with Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Aleks Subic to discuss a variety of higher education policy priorities
  • She was also given a tour of the Aston University Engineering Academy, Aston Medical School and Aston Students’ Union.

Aston University welcomed Bridget Phillipson MP, the shadow education secretary, to its campus on Thursday 30 March. 

The visit provided an opportunity for her to learn more about the University's commitment to STEMM education and to engage with students, staff and faculty members on key policy issues.

Ms Phillipson met with Aston University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Aleks Subic to discuss a wide range of higher education policy points.

The visit included a tour of the Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA), a centre of excellence for STEMM learning. During the tour, AUEA principal Daniel Locke-Wheaton and discussed key developments, including proposed changes to BTEC course availability. 

Bridget Phillipson met with the elected officers at Aston Students' Union, led by president Atul Rana, who shared key issues affecting students, and in particular the impacts of ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The visit also involved a tour of Aston University Medical School, led by Professor Anthony Hilton, Pro Vice Chancellor of the College of Health and Life Sciences, including a demonstration of innovative simulation equipment used by medical students for their training. 

Professor Subic said:

“It was wonderful to host the shadow secretary of state for education and to have the opportunity to showcase the University’s commitment to STEMM education and social inclusion. 

“It provided an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue on critical policy issues, especially around our experiences of establishing a novel Medical School, our socially inclusive outreach and admissions work and the key role that universities have to play in training future healthcare workers. I was particularly pleased by the opportunity to present our case and plans for doubling places in medical and health degrees as a way to address the dire situation in NHS relating to managing demand and improving health equity and access.”

Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“It was great to be able to see first-hand the fantastic work taking place at Aston University, training the next generation of nurses, doctors and engineers at their Medical School and Engineering Academy.

“It was also really important to me to speak with the Students’ Union about the difficulties students are up against right now, facing the biggest hit to living standards on record.

“The next Labour government will be mission-driven to break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage. Universities like Aston University, renowned centres of learning and research, will have a key part to play in that mission.”

Notes to Editors

More about the Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA)

The academy serves over 750 students from diverse communities across Birmingham, with 65% from socially deprived backgrounds. The academy specializes in Engineering, Health, and Business, and over 97% of learners at 18 years old go on to STEM undergraduate courses or apprenticeships.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email:

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