Dyson to open school of design

By Adam Coleman

BATH, UK: Dyson plan to launch the Dyson School of Design Innovation in Bath, UK, a new kind of school to encourage Britain’s next generation of engineers, designers, inventors and entrepreneurs.

Set to open in September, 2008, the school plans to offer young people practical programs in engineering, design and enterprise and give them hands-on experience of the latest technology which is more often seen in industrial research and development centres.

“Design surrounds us. It inspires us. It makes more things possible. As our need for good design and technology increases so does the need for innovative and adventurous designers, engineers and scientists,” said Dyson founder, James Dyson.

“The school will allow young people to explore ideas, experiment and solve real world problems. We want to encourage future generations of design engineers.”

To develop the Dyson School of Design Innovation, the James Dyson Foundation – a longstanding educational charity – and a number of leading engineering and hi-tech partners, are working with the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the South West of England Regional Development Agency (South West RDA).

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Williams F1 will donate prototypes to inspire and take pride of place in the school’s vast atrium, as well as involving their own engineers in the School through an industry mentoring program.

2,500 students from Bath and the surrounding area are expected to attend the school every week.  16-to-18-year-olds will attend full time and 14-to-16-year-olds one day a week.

“Fewer and fewer young people choose to study engineering and design. We need to revolutionise how these subjects are taught,” said Dyson.

The school aims to encourage young engineering talent from around the country to hone skills and fast-track foundation degree courses during residential holiday courses, provide teachers with specialist modules to use in their own schools and open opportunities for adult learners who are considering a change in career, or for those who simply want to upgrade their skills.

“Practical courses will blend with academic work – linking thinking with doing. Some courses will be taught by scientists, designers and engineers from industry to provide insight and allow students to experience the latest technology. The Science Museum will also be involved in the development of an exciting new curriculum.”

The total cost of opening the Dyson School of Design Innovation will be at least £22 million, of which up to £12.5 million will come from the James Dyson Foundation, £6 million from the LSC and £5 million from the DfES. 

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