Today’s announcement by Chancellor George Osborne sees the second WMG Academy for Young Engineers (Solihull) named as one of the latest University Technical Colleges to be approved under the government’s academies programme.
Sponsored by the University of Warwick and leading employers, and backed by Solihull Council and a range of local partners, the new school will provide young people aged 14-19 from Birmingham and Solihull the opportunity to study engineering and science in a business-like and business led environment alongside the national curriculum.
Key employer partners for the new WMG Academy include Jaguar Land Rover, Controls and Data Services (formerly known as Aero Engine Controls) and Arup, whose input and expertise will shape the curriculum and the project-based learning approach of the new Academy. Pupils will take a problem-solving, practical approach to learning by working on real-world problems, set by the employer partners.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman and Founder of WMG said: “Reaching a younger generation, engaging them in innovative new learning environments and preparing and inspiring them to create the high-value products of tomorrow is the only way that we can ensure the UK’s ability to compete in the global market place for the future.
“We are delighted to be starting work on opening the second WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Solihull. Across the region we have some of the best companies and supply chains for manufacturing, many of whom are eager to become part of this exciting new approach to education.
“We have worked with our partners to create a truly unique curriculum and learning style that will ensure students across Solihull and Birmingham have access to a bespoke learning experience that not only gives them high-value technical skills but also vital employability and business skills; preparing them for further or higher education, apprenticeships or to move directly into careers and keeping manufacturing knowledge and excellence within the region.”
Chief Executive for the WMG Academy Trust, Dr Richard Hutchins said: “We are delighted to have had the green light from government for our second WMG Academy. The overwhelmingly positive response from employers, students and parents to our first WMG Academy in Coventry has paved the way for us to develop a second one in Solihull. There is a clear desire from both local and global employers to find employable young people with both technical and business skills. They realise that they have a role to play within this, which starts within education.
“Our goal is to enable local students from across Birmingham and Solihull to access to the same high-quality, innovative teaching we will be providing in Coventry; giving them the chance to gain technical qualifications alongside the national curriculum and gaining important business skills such as team-work, problem-solving and leadership.”
The WMG Academy for Young Engineers Solihull will offer places to 640 students aged 14-19 from the Solihull and Birmingham areas and is scheduled open in a brand new building based in North Solihull in September 2016.
Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover commented: "Jaguar Land Rover is proud to be at the forefront of industry engagement with the WMG Academy for Young Engineers (Solihull). The company will support the UTC in a range of ways, from assistance with the curriculum to board membership, provision of equipment, support for visits and provision of technical specialists who will contribute to teaching. The UTC will help to address very important issues at the beginning of the educational cycle, namely exciting young people about engineering careers and developing a pool of talent which the industry can rely upon for future generations. It will also be an important signal and flagship for investors in the local area whether they are suppliers to us or other high value manufacturing and engineering companies and sectors. We look forward to our continued association with WMG Academy for Young Engineers."
Leader of Solihull Council, Bob Sleigh, said: “This is fantastic news for the borough to bring world-class engineering training within reach of our young people. With both WMG Academy and industry support I’m confident the UTC will ensure the borough, and the region, will have enough top quality engineers to continue to maintain the area’s re-eminence in automotive and high value engineering. I sincerely hope many of our young people, particularly those close by in the north will consider a career in engineering and look to the UTC to give them the best start possible.
Notes to editors:
· Employer Partners for the WMG Academy for Young Engineers, Solihull include: Jaguar Land Rover, Controls and Data Services (formerly Aero Engine Controls), Arup, Automotive Insulations, Dassault Systemes, and Prodrive.
· The first WMG Academy for Young Engineers in Coventry will open its doors to the first cohort of students in September this year.
· A public consultation will begin on the WMG Academy shortly to obtain views on the plans for the school from local employers, potential parents & students, the local community and other interested parties. During the planning of the application for the WMG Academy for Young Engineers Solihull, over three thousand parents of students in years 7,8 & 9 in Solihull were surveyed to gain evidence of interest and demand for this academy. Over 300 parents responded to the survey and of those in excess of 95% positively.
· WMG was founded by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing. From its inception WMG's mission has been to improve the competitiveness of organisations through the application of value adding innovation, new technologies and skills deployment, bringing academic rigour to industrial and organisational practice. An academic department of the University of Warwick, the group started small - just an office, the Professor and his secretary. Today it is one of the world's leading research groups. Over 500 people work across six buildings on the Warwick campus (with a fifth under construction) plus collaborative centres in six countries with an annual programme of £180m which includes industrial and in-kind support from companies such as Jaguar Land Rover.
· WMG Academy for Young Engineers Solihull will deliver a business-led and business-like education focussed on engineering and applied digital technology for young people aged 14-19 in the local area.
· Students will benefit from an imaginative and personalised approach. Each student will be able to progress at a rate that suits their individual learning styles and enables them to focus on achieving positive outcomes.
5 August 2014
Alison Rowan: Marketing and Communications Manager, WMG Academy for Young Engineers,
Email: a dot rowan at warwick dot ac dot uk
Phone: 02476 150423