City equipping young people with innovation skills
Birmingham’s ethos of innovation begins in its schools, continues through its FE and HE institutions and results in a viable commercial proposition which benefits the local, national and international economy.
Recent IBM PLI research identified seven sectors in the wider Birmingham area that provide the best potential for further inward investment. The city is implementing a number of initiatives to ensure its young people are fully equipped with the skills needed to thrive in our ever-changing global industries marketplace. Birmingham Science City stakeholders are involved in efforts to improve skills across a number of these sectors including digital media and science and engineering.
Two specific new facilities aim to engage local young people at an early stage of their decision making process and provide vital support for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Digital Working Group members are supporting Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) which will specialise in digital, creative and performing arts, scheduled to open this September. Meanwhile, over at Aston University, plans are taking shape for the first university sponsored academy designed specifically for 14-19 year olds.
Probably best known for its work on TV and digital platform, ‘Embarrassing Bodies’, Maverick is one of the founding partners of BOA, which will be situated within walking distance of Birmingham Science Park Aston, Millennium Point, BCU and its New Technology Institute (NTI). BOA’s location enhances the existing digital expertise which can already be found in this part of the city.
Under its Digital Media provision, Birmingham Ormiston Academy will offer courses in Gaming Development and Interactive Media. Digital Gaming is a booming sector in the wider Birmingham area which is home to 21% of the UK’s gaming workforce. Industry leaders including Sega, Rare (Microsoft), Blitz and Codemasters all have a local presence.
Maverick Founder, Jonnie Turpie MBE, is an active member of Birmingham Science City’s digital working group. He says, “Birmingham’s status as a Science City is a vitally important element of the city’s identity, wider knowledge base and future success. Young people and businesses are able to draw on the experience available locally to get the support, skills, investment and imagination they need to thrive. The city benefits from established networks of like-minded individuals committed to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs through mentoring, networking and initiatives such as the new Ormiston Academy.”
The Aston University Engineering Academy will be opening in September 2012 for students with an aptitude for science and technical subjects. The academy is the culmination of four years planning between local employers, university staff and the local authority to create an inspirational learning environment for young scientists and engineers in Birmingham.
Principal Designate, Lee Kilgour, said, “The Engineering Academy will be seeking to recruit young people with a passion and interest in science and technical subjects. We have been working closely with industry to develop an exciting and motivational curriculum. The new School will provide company supported apprenticeships alongside more traditional A level curriculum, it will be a regional centre of excellence and will play a key role in addressing the technical skills gap.”
Wouter Schuitemaker, Investment Manager at Business Birmingham, the city’s official inward investment programme says, “By identifying the city’s sector strengths and providing tailored training opportunities, young people will have access to the skills needed to contribute to the wider economy when they leave education. Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe with under 25s accounting for almost 40% of its population. The available skilled talent pool is a key driver for potential investors – they can benefit from a ready-made workforce on their doorstep, a big plus in any business location decision.”
Find out more about some of the exciting work being undertaken by our partners by visiting them directly. All links can be found here