A new £16.5 million school to train the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs opens today in Birmingham.
The first 150 students will be walking through the doors of the new Aston University Engineering Academy, in the heart of the city centre.
The academy, which is sponsored by Aston University, is Birmingham’s first university technical college, which give 14 to 19-year-olds the chance to gain qualifications for careers in science and engineering.
It has also teamed up with firms including Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, energy firm E.ON and Rolls Royce, to allow youngsters to experience the world of work.
Students will be taught from 8.30am to 5.30pm, an extra year of teaching per student by the time they leave at 19.
Principal Lee Kilgour said: “It’s very exciting to be finally at our first day.
“The building is everything we thought it was going to be, and is in line with the vision we had for a place that has the best of a school and the best of business accommodation.
“It sets the ethos that makes students feel like young adults preparing for work.”
The academy, which will eventually have up to 600 pupils, boasts more than a dozen specialist engineering and science workshops and laboratories, as well as ICT suites for research and development.
Pupils will also undertake industrial placements, benefit from industry experts delivering lessons and be taught about finance and undergo mock interviews.
The school was earlier this year selected to pilot an apprenticeship scheme with E.ON focusing on science and engineering.
Mr Kilgour said: “We want to inspire the next generation of young men and women and ensure the UK has an engineering workforce capable of leading the world in current and emerging technologies.”
Aston university vice chancellor, Prof Dame Julia King, added: “Birmingham has a great industrial history and I’m delighted we have the opportunity to continue developing this proud engineering and manufacturing heritage.”