The region's skills gap has received a boost after Birmingham City University was handed a £250,000 grant to train nearly 300 apprentices in key industries.

The money will be used to create a package of new so-called 'degree apprenticeships' over the coming years which will allow students to earn and learn in roles including construction, management, manufacturing, law and radiography.

Courses will begin running from 2017 and have been tailored to meet the needs of the West Midlands region, welcoming up to 280 students with the possibility of even more places becoming available in the future.

They combine real-world training and experience and lead to students being awarded degrees at the end of their courses.

The £250,000 funding has been awarded by the Department for Education, through its Higher Education Funding Council England, and BCU beat competition from nearly 70 other institutions to emerge as one of 18 successful bidders to share the £1 million pot.

BCU's deputy vice-chancellor Prof Julian Beer said: "We are delighted to have received this funding which will allow us to give even more students the chance to learn a trade through real-world experience while also leaving the university with a degree.

"Our role is to make sure students leave us with a good education and qualifications but it is equally important they are prepared for the world of work which is why Higher Level Apprenticeships can be so important.

"Tailoring our courses and training to fit the needs of industries and organisations across the West Midlands also gives us the perfect opportunity to address the skills gaps we have here and play a crucial role in supporting economic growth."

Skills and apprenticeships minister Robert Halfon added: "Apprenticeships work, that's why we've launched degree apprenticeships that give people a real chance to earn while you learn, putting you on the fast-track to a top career.

"This multimillion-pound fund will allow universities and colleges to work with top employers to design high-quality degree apprenticeships that give people a ladder of opportunity, more choice and help shape Britain to become an apprentice nation."

University of Wolverhampton is the only other institution in the West Midlands to receive funding and will work with Birmingham Metropolitan College among others on the courses.