Birmingham & Black Country

Aston University Engineering Academy opens

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Media captionAston University in Birmingham has opened a £16m academy to train the country's next generation of engineers

A £16m engineering academy has opened at Aston University in Birmingham.

The university said the academy, catering for 14 to 19-year-olds, would help "fill the engineering and manufacturing skills gap".

Pupils will specialise in engineering and science alongside other subjects such as English, maths, languages and business.

The University Technical College (UTC) is one of three across the UK opening this month.

It follows the JCB Academy in Staffordshire, which opened in 2010, and the Black Country UTC, sponsored by Siemens, which opened in 2011.

Based at Birmingham Science Park, in Aston, the new UTC is expected to draw upon the area's engineering expertise, including partnerships with local manufacturers such as Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover.

'Future economic prosperity'

Principal Lee Kilgour said students would also spend time working within engineering or science companies.

The academy said training the next generation of engineers was "essential for the future economic prosperity of the UK".

Some 150 students have started this year, but the university said it expected the academy to eventually cater for about 600.

It is one of about 30 engineering and science academies which are expected to open within the next two years, according to the University Technical Colleges body.

The West Midlands Construction UTC in Bloxwich is scheduled to open in 2014, on the same site as the existing Black Country UTC, at the former Sneyd Community School.

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