A NEW engineering academy has been launched to offer talented college students a route into university.
The academy, a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde, partner colleges and industry, will offer 80 funded places per year.
Students will initially undertake an HNC within one of the partner colleges and those who achieve the required level will be guaranteed transfer to an undergraduate degree within the relevant Faculty of Engineering department at Strathclyde.
It was launched by Education Secretary Michael Russell at the University of Strathclyde today.
He said: “The Scottish Government firmly believes that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay, and is committed to widening access to higher education to all people, regardless of background.
“We have legislated to make this a point of statute, but a number of programmes have already been operating to open up access, with allowing college students access to other opportunities a key part of what we want to achieve.”
The initial group of partner colleges involved in the venture are City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Clyde College, West College Scotland, Glasgow Kelvin College and Forth Valley College.
Companies who are engaging with the engineering academy concept include Aggreko, Babcock, BP and Rolls Royce, SSE.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are committed to providing access to people from the widest possible range of backgrounds and the launch of the engineering academy allows us to continue to grow our already significant work in this area.
“The degree programmes offered within the academy will be boosted by hands-on practical experience.
“This will ensure graduates entering the workforce will have the enhanced professional and vocational skills that industry is seeking in technological sectors critical to Scotland’s economic success.”
The college students are enrolled as “Associate Students” of the university and will be inducted into university life during their first year, to ensure a smooth journey into the full-time university timetable.
They will also benefit from industry-funded scholarships and paid summer placements in the course of their undergraduate programme.