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Chair of Board of Governors announced for new WMG academy

John Leighfield CBE
Prominent businessman and former University of Warwick Pro-Chancellor John Leighfield CBE has been named as the first Chair of Governors at WMG Academy for Young Engineers.

Mr Leighfield worked in the IT industry for many years, serving in high-level positions with Ford Motor Company, British Leyland, AT&T and RM Education. For the University of Warwick he has served as a lay member of the University Council, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council.

He will lead the Board of Governors at the WMG Academy, which is due to open in September 2014. The academy was given the green light last year as a UTC (University Technical College) under the government’s academies programme. The school, which will be built on land adjacent to the Westwood Academy, will cater for 14-19-year-olds who have an interest in engineering.

The Academy will deliver the national curriculum, but will follow a unique programme of study with input and expertise from major employers such as Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid and SCC. The first intake of pupils will start at the school in September 2014 and they will approach key subject areas via their application to real-world problems.

Mr Leighfield said: “I see this as a major development in vocational education in England. Right from the beginning I felt that the combination of WMG and the business partners around the local region could contribute in a unique way to offering an education for young people with an interest in engineering and technology. I am delighted to be involved in it.”

Director of WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Richard Hutchins said: “It is fantastic news that John Leighfield has agreed to come on board. He will have a vital contribution to make to the Academy and has a great deal of experience. He understands first-hand the challenges facing the engineering industries with a shortage of skills. The Academy will offer a career-based education and prepare students for a direct entry into an engineering career or into engineering or technology in further or higher education.”

For more information please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Press and Communications Manager, University of Warwick, 02476 150868,, 07824 540863.

14th March 2013