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James Dyson launches free engineering university to tackle skills shortage

The Dyson Institute of Technology will offer engineering degrees from September 2017

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James Dyson is to open an Institute of Technology that will offer free engineering degrees alongside paid jobs at Dyson’s research and development campus in Wiltshire.

Under new plans laid out by the Department of Education in a recent white paper, the Dyson Institute of Technology will apply for degree awarding powers, allowing it to become a new university.

Dyson hopes to use the institute to tackle the industry’s growing skills shortage and foster the next generation of engineers as he looks to double Dyson’s engineering team by 2020. Applications have opened for the first cohort of engineering students to start in September 2017.

Through the institute Dyson will invest £15 million over the next five years and plans to offer the “brightest aspiring engineers” a relevant alternative to a traditional university degree. The new degree will combine academic learning, initially delivered by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), University of Warwick, with hands-on experience developing Dyson products and working alongside Dyson’s current engineering team of 3,000.

The students will come away from higher education debt-free, having earned a salary throughout, and with the prospect of earning a full graduate wage on completion of the four-year programme.

James Dyson said: “The UK’s skills shortage is holding Dyson back as we look to increase the amount of technology we develop and export from the UK. We are taking matters into our own hands. The new degree course offers academic theory, a real-world job and salary, and access to experts in their field.”

The bespoke engineering degree has been developed by Dyson engineers and WMG Warwick University, who aim to bridge the gap between industry and academia. The four- year degree programme covers the fundamentals of engineering in years one and two, and delivers more specific electronics and mechanical engineering content in years three and four. Students may also get the chance to spend time in Dyson’s technology and design centres in Singapore and Malaysia.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman and founder of WMG, University of Warwick, said: “It is vital that in order for UK companies to be competitive they must have the right people with the right skills. I am delighted we are working with the Dyson Institute on this degree and welcome the move by James Dyson to develop a pool of talent which have the skills that are required to work in industry today.”

The first cohort of 25 students will start at the Institute of Technology in September 2017.

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