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Vince Cable announces new programme developed by JLR with WMG to boost skills of UK engineers

WMG at the University of Warwick are leading on a pioneering new education programme, just announced by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which is aimed at boosting the skills of engineers working within the automotive supply chain and other hi-tech industries.

The Advanced Skills Accreditation Scheme (ASAS) was formally launched last week at JLR by Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business.

The ASAS education scheme offers engineers the chance to develop the green and future engineering skills which will be needed to create world-leading new products and technologies over the next decades. It is based on a programme developed by JLR in conjunction with WMG and a number of leading UK universities.

This sector-wide skills programme led by Semta, the sector skills council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, is supported through the Government’s Growth and Innovation Fund with a £1m boost from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. The funding means the scheme can be open to companies of all sizes within the UK.

WMG will be managing the coordination of the relationships with educational establishments while an Employer board, featuring representatives of leading technology companies and chaired by JLR will oversee the quality and delivery of the overall project.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “This is the sort of innovative idea that will help address the crippling shortage of trained engineers in the UK. It’s fantastic that JLR sees benefit not just of making itself competitive but also collaborating across the sector to help make British advanced manufacturing increasingly competitive”

“The best solutions are found when business, universities and Government work together and this is an excellent example of partnership working to face future challenges.”

JLR Executive Director Mike Wright said: “JLR has already begun the largest advanced engineering skills programme in the UK, to help us to deliver our low carbon vehicles of the future. We are planning for more than half of our 6,000 engineers to take part in the programme. If UK companies are going to be able to compete successfully in the future, we need to raise the skill levels throughout the supply chain and UK manufacturing as a whole.”

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be continuing our relationship with JLR, by developing this new scheme that all UK companies can take participate in. UK manufacturing is going to benefit from having many more highly trained engineers, who will help to reinvigorate the industry and improve the skills base”.

The scheme involves 50 modules covering advanced skills and technologies, such as hybrid technology and sustainable powertrain, which will be delivered through collaboration with a network of leading universities chosen for their research expertise in a given topic.

It is expected to attract engineers from over 2,000 companies in England who will undertake 5,000 Master’s degree module places over the next two years.

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn
Head of Communications, Communications Office, University House,
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom
UK Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile: 07767 655860
International: +44 24 76 523708 Mobile: +44 7767 655860
Email: p dot j dot dunn at warwick dot ac dot uk

June 2012