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Barking & Dagenham College is awarded £96,000 grant to fund innovation

Independent education charity, the Edge Foundation has announced today that Barking & Dagenham College has been selected as one of the recipients of a grant from the Edge Innovation and Development Fund.

The grant fund was established in the year of Edge’s 10th anniversary to support innovation in technical, practical and vocational education.

The College, one of 23 Gazelle colleges in the UK, has been awarded £96,000 to set up The Siemens’ Mechatronics Academy as a specialist unit within its Regional Gazelle Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Centre at the College’s main Rush Green campus. The Academy will be an industry-led initiative, heavily supported by Siemens. It will open in September 2014 recruiting 120 post-16 students. On top of the courses it will offer, around 250 young people each year will engage in extra-curricular activities at the Academy.

Cathy Walsh OBE, Principal and CEO, Barking & Dagenham College said: “The Siemens’ Mechatronics Academy has been co-created with the company as one strand of the College’s STEM strategy, to meet the London and Thames Gateway economic and workforce development needs. We are delighted to be able to bring The Mechatronics Academy to fruition with the help of this grant from the Edge Foundation. Mechatronics is a fast developing area in STEM; with the input of Siemens on curriculum design and delivery we are giving young people, and employed engineering technicians, the opportunity to compete in a global economy through high quality technical skills and a world renowned brand.”

Jan Hodges OBE, CEO, the Edge Foundation said: “The Siemens’ Mechatronics Academy will be a beacon for technical, practical and vocational learning in the sector and we are delighted to be able to support Barking & Dagenham College as they embark on this new venture.

“Edge has worked hard over the past decade, seeking a closer alignment between education and the skill needs of the UK economy. The grant fund has allowed us to reach out across the country so that Barking & Dagenham College, and the other grant recipients, can help this unfold at a local level; providing young people with many high-quality paths to success.”

Barking & Dagenham College’s grant has been awarded in the first round of applications. Second round applications have now closed and successful bids will be announced by the end of the year.

All applications to the grant fund must support Edge's Six Steps for Change and address at least two of the following three aims:
• support the creation of new institutions
• support the development of profound employer engagement
• address areas of skills shortages for the UK economy

Additionally all projects will support effective dissemination of best practice in vocational education and training and be able to support further development or replication.

For more information about the Edge Innovation and Development Fund visit: www.edge.co.uk/projects/the-edge-foundation-innovation-and-developm...

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