University in multi-million pound engineering investment

The University of Wolverhampton has announced it is investing £12m in new state-of-the-art facilities and courses to help create the next generation of skilled engineers.

The major investment will provide advanced new engineering facilities as part of the University’s response to the regional and national shortage of qualified engineering graduates.

New courses will be offered in the areas of automotive and motorsport engineering, chemical engineering and electronic and telecommunications engineering for 2015-16, followed by the introduction of food engineering and aerospace engineering in 2016-17.

The majority of the investment will go into transforming part of the University’s Telford Innovation Campus and providing specialist equipment for the new courses with additional investment in facilities for chemical engineering at the City Campus in Wolverhampton.

This will include creating a design and visualisation facility, a Formula 1 specification wind tunnel, engine test facilities, 3D printing facilities and laboratories dedicated to electronics and telecommunications, metrology and materials testing. The planned work will be subject of gaining planning consent.

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and External Engagement, said: “In the UK it is estimated that there will be a shortfall of around 200,000 qualified engineers by 2020.

“This investment into creating enhanced provision and expanded facilities demonstrates our commitment to bridging that gap and producing the next generation of skilled engineers.

“The new course offering, combined with activity based learning and live industrial project work will provide a real focus on creativity and employability.

“Our aim is for our graduates to be work ready and they’ll have additional opportunities to gain key employability skills through workshops and club activities such as the Formula Renault Racing Team and the Human Powered Flight Club.

“This is very much an investment supporting the regeneration and growth of the regional and national economy. It also builds on the existing heritage and expertise in advanced manufacturing and engineering in the region.”

This latest investment in teaching and learning facilities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects forms part of a wider investment such as the recent £22m Rosalind Franklin Science Centre in Stafford Street, Wolverhampton.

 The University has also entered the Monoposto Championship, buying its own Formula Renault car driven by a professional driver, and supported by a team of engineering staff and students.

Last summer, the University invested £500,000 transforming to create engineering facilities at Telford, including new workshops with two car bays, benches and professional tools to support the students’ work on the racing car.

New courses being offered from the start of the 2015-16 academic year include BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering, BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering, BEng (Hons) Electrical, Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering and BEng (Hons) Mechatronics Engineering.

From 2016-17 BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering and BEng (Hons) Food Engineering will be offered.

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