4th February 2015
Lord Kenneth Baker joined Barking & Dagenham College yesterday (3rd February) to officially open the College?s new Siemens Mechatronics Academy. The Academy is designed to help meet the increasing demand for highly skilled technicians by the science, technology, engineering and maths sector.
Lord Baker is Chair of the Edge Foundation and it was through a £96,000 grant from the Foundation that the Academy was established. Barking & Dagenham College have been working with Siemens, the leading global engineering and technology service company, as their London apprenticeship training partner since 2013 and the Academy is the next step in the development of this strategic partnership.
Mechatronics is a multi-disciplinary field combining mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering. All engineering students at the College follow a Siemens programme alongside their core programme of study, giving them an additional skill-set which is in demand from employers. Local schools will also have the opportunity to join Saturday and school holiday programmes at the Academy to give young people the chance to learn skills such as coding, robotics and mechatronics and training courses will be offered to industry practitioners who want to up-skill.
Lord Baker, who unveiled a plaque to mark the opening before taking a tour of the new facility alongside David Wheeler, Learning & Development Manager of Siemens and invited guests, said of the initiative:
“May I congratulate Barking & Dagenham College on their vision for this Academy – it is such a job-positive space. Too much focus is given to obtaining 3 A-levels and going to university when in fact there are many other routes to success. I am trying to create as many pathways to success as possible and that starts by increasing the skills base. I am delighted that Siemens are supporting this Academy as they understand how important training is. Youngsters in school should do much more technical training than they do at the moment, that’s why this Siemens Mechatronics Academy is such a positive development and why this is such an effective college.”
Cathy Walsh OBE, Principal and CEO, at the College explained:
“Our strategic partnership with Siemens creates a significant and industry kite marked opportunity - for our students and local engineering businesses - to develop the latest and highest quality technical skills that are so in demand by the UK and global economies. Our experts have all been trained at the Siemens Academy in Berlin, giving our students and local engineering companies access to the most up-to-date industry knowledge.”
“The Siemens Mechatronics Academy is very much an engineering and a community economic resource for the region. Schools can bring their pupils to engage with engineering subjects and those already working in the related industries can update their skills and enhance their career prospects through our latest integrated engineering training programmes.”
David Wheeler, Learning and Development Manager, Siemens plc said:
“Siemens is proud to be partnering with Barking & Dagenham College in bringing this innovative skills solution to the market. It will make a significant contribution to the College and provides a solid foundation to build the advanced manufacturing skills we need for the future."
The Siemens Mechatronics Academy is the latest in a line of prominent industry developments to create the highest quality training environment for students at the College. Training that leads to rewarding careers in skill shortage industries. For example, the Rush Green campus is already home to the Gazelle STEM Centre, a Plumbing Academy and the new iCreate@BDC space, a collaborative hub for those in the digital creative sector. This new Mechatronics addition continues the College’s strategy to meet the London and Thames Gateway economic and workforce development needs.