As part of a two hundred million pound investment from Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE), Solihull College is one of 73 universities and colleges across the country – and the only college in the Midlands – to benefit from the support to increase in high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematic students.
The funding, which will be matched by the College, is for a Materials Testing Laboratory at the Woodlands Campus in Smith’s Wood to support higher education Engineering and Construction students.
Solihull College is currently preparing for validation with Oxford Brookes University for Foundation Degrees and a top-up BSc in Mechanical Engineering and Electronic Engineering which can be delivered at the Woodlands Campus using a day-release model requiring investment into Materials Engineering test equipment.
Rosa Wells, HE Engineering Coordinator at the College comments: “We are very pleased that HEFCE is supporting Solihull College to enhance its Engineering provision for hard working skilled engineers so they are able to gain valuable academic qualifications up to BSc level whilst continuing to contribute effectively within their workplaces. There are skills shortages throughout the local engineering and construction industries and it is essential that companies build on the skills they have started to develop in order to meet the expected demands in the future. With these new facilities, the College can continue to work with companies to create higher level study programmes for their talented apprentices to ensure they are able to respond flexibly to demand”.
The College focusses heavily upon employability skills for young people and works with and listens to employers to understand their business needs. Due to the proximity of the campus in the industry rich West Midlands, the College is working hard to respond to the prevalent skills deficit in the area.
In the 2013-14 academic year, the College had 30 full-time and 80 part-time students studying HNCs and HNDs in Electrical, Electronic, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering. In 2014-15, the College will also be enrolling part-time students onto Mechanical Engineering and Construction HNCs as a direct result of local employer feedback.
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “Inspiring young people to take up STEM courses is vital to the success of the UK economy. This investment will mean world-class teaching facilities to build tomorrow’s skilled workforce. It’s just one way we are ensuring the UK remains a world leader in science and research, as set out in this week’s Science and Innovation strategy”.
In addition to this investment, Solihull College’s Woodlands Campus has been earmarked government funding for the next academic year for the development of the aerospace and aeronautical facility at the Smith’s Wood site.
To find out more about further investment at Solihull College’s Woodlands Campus please visit www.solihull.ac.uk/woodlands campus or call 0121 678 7000.