A £15 million Birmingham school is set for a UK first after being picked to pilot a new apprenticeship scheme.
Work is underway on the Aston University Engineering Academy, which will train the city’s next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs.
The school will open in September as one the nation’s first university technical colleges (UTC), giving 14 to 19-year-olds the chance to gain qualifications for careers in science and engineering.
Education Secretary Michael Gove also revealed the academy had been chosen to lead an apprenticeship scheme focusing on science and engineering.
The school, which is being built next to Aston University’s city centre campus, is teaming up with energy firm E.ON to offer the apprenticeships for students aged 16 and over.
The academy will also have strong links with local and national firms, including Jaguar Land Rover, the National Grid and the Royal Air Force.
Mr Gove said: “Excellent vocational education is a must for any modern nation.
“I am delighted the Aston University Engineering Academy will be delivering apprenticeships and working with E.ON.”
The school will be open to 120 Year 10 and 60 Year 12 students.
Students will be taught from 8.30am to 5.30pm – an extra year of teaching per student by the time they leave at 19.
The academy will boast 13 specialist engineering and science workshops and laboratories, as well as ICT suites for research and development.
Principal designate Lee Kilgour said: “Everything is coming together.
“Recruitment of staff is going very well, we had 37 applications for our final assistant principal’s post and over 60 expressions of interest, which is phenomenal.
“We are nearly full for our post-16 places but there are still lots of opportunities for Year 9 students to apply for a place in September.”