Published on 18/11/2022
​ ​Secretary of State for Education visits Aston University and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology Hub
  • The Secretary of State for Education visited Aston University and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology Hub
  • She discussed the opportunities for education institutions to work with businesses to develop digital skills in the region
  • She also met students and alumni from the Aston University Engineering Academy. 

The Secretary of State for Education has visited Aston University and met some of the highly skilled workers of tomorrow.

The Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP visited the University, and nearby the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT) Hub on 16 November.

During her visit, she met a wide range of students, and also degree apprentices who are already in careers, as well as academic staff to discuss their views and experiences of work-based learning.

She was introduced to Aston University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Aleks Subic and Matthew Hammond, chairman of the Midlands region for PwC and chair of the West Midlands Growth Company. The meeting gave her an opportunity for the three to discuss additional education and businesses collaborations to deliver and scale-up digital skills training. 

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “I was blown away by the cutting-edge training and high-quality apprenticeships on offer at Aston University. 

“It was great to meet staff and students to find out more about the skills they are instilling in the next generation.

“Aston University is a key partner in The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology, which specialises in advanced manufacturing, engineering and digital, and is one of 21 Institutes of Technology we’re opening to develop a skilled workforce and drive growth in a modern economy.”

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said “I was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Education to Aston University, and to discuss the role we and our industry partners are playing in developing skills that support economic growth in Birmingham and the wider region, particularly digital skills aligned with Industry 4.0 transformations.

“Working closely with business is in Aston University’s DNA, and I am pleased the Secretary of State had the opportunity to meet with our placement students and degree apprentices to hear their experiences first-hand.”

The Minister also met current Aston University Engineering Academy students who are studying for T-Level qualifications, and former students who are currently undertaking apprenticeships with Collins Aerospace, based at MAKE UK.

In addition, she toured the new GBSIoT hub, which houses the largest cyber physical manufacturing rig – a scaled down factory of the future – in Europe.

GBSIoT is one of 12 in the first wave of Institutes of Technology that has been established across England as unique collaborations between further education (FE) colleges, universities and employers to offer technical education and training at higher skills levels in key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors.

The GBSIoT is designed to create a ‘powerhouse’ for advanced manufacturing and engineering and is a collaboration between FE providers, universities, and employers for the region.

The consortium is led by Solihull College & University Centre, with Aston University, Birmingham City University and South and City College Birmingham as members and supported by BMET College, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham as partners.


photo caption: (l-r) Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Aleks Subic

Notes to editors

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.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of 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 Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7825 342091 or email:

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