Birmingham & Black Country

Tuition fees 'should be cut for engineering students'

Tuition fees for students taking engineering degrees should be cut by the government to boost the automotive industry, a business figure has said.

Richard Parry-Jones, co-chairman for the Automotive Council, made the claim amid worries that a lack of skilled engineers could hold back growth.

The industry in the West Midlands has enjoyed recent welcome news with at least 1,000 new jobs announced.

Mr Parry-Jones said engineers' tuition fees should be set at £3,000.

Most students face tuition fees significantly higher than this, with many universities charging the maximum amount allowed, £9,000 a year.

'Leave school young'

Mr Parry-Jones said that students taking degrees in science, technology and maths should also have their fees reduced.

The suggestions were made during a day-long series of special reports on the BBC looking at the automotive industry.

Former trade minister Lord Jones said he would have children leaving school at 14 to join the workplace.

"We might end up with a better skilled manufacturing workforce with people getting an on-the-job qualification... and in that respect, we might have more vocationally trained people in Britain which is excellent news for manufacturing."

Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans for 1,000 jobs in the West Midlands over the next two years.

And BMW has revealed it plans to invest £500m in UK car production over the next three years.

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