DESIGNER James Dyson has said he hopes the people of Malmesbury will welcome students to the town, as work got underway on a £22m university campus.

The founder of technology giant Dyson, was joined by Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, on Tuesday afternoon, as building work commenced on the Dyson Institute for Engineering and Technology.

The duo took part in a turf cutting ceremony to signal the start of the project which will see accommodation and leisure facilities created for more than 30 students.

Earlier this year, the first batch of undergraduates began their education in Malmesbury, some of whom declined offers from some of the world’s best universities.

Speaking to the Standard, James said: “Malmesbury will have a student population which I’m sure they will welcome.

“I hope we won’t be putting too much of a strain on Malmesbury’s resources because we’ve got some of our own here“We’ve got a sports centre here and various other facilities and I hope it will bring wealth to Malmesbury as we have done already.

“I hope the population of Malmesbury will welcome the students and look after them in the town.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

The idea for the Institution, which offers degree level courses with hands on experience, came about in March 2016 when Jo challenged James to help plug the gap in engineering graduates in the UK.

Just four per cent of graduates from British universities leave with engineering degrees, compared to 40 per cent in Singapore.

Speaking in Malmesbury on Tuesday, Jo Johnson praised Dyson’s commitment to promoting engineering in the UK: “It’s wonderful that Dyson is doing this.

“This is a truly unique and fantastic innovation and it’s one that government is 100 per cent supportive of.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Artist's impression of the completed campus)

“We want great companies such as Dyson to be getting more closely involved in the provision of higher education because it’s very clear that the outcomes for students, when they’ve had close engagement with employers during their study, are infinitely better than those of students who haven’t had this extraordinary opportunity.”

Dyson expects to invest £31.5 million in the Institute over the next five years.

Students will be taught in specially designed research labs on the Malmesbury campus as they work towards a Bachelor of Engineering degree awarded by the University of Warwick.

In between studies, the undergraduates will work in Dyson’s global engineering team on real engineering projects, three days a week during term time and five days a week outside of term-time.

Dyson will pay all tuition fees during the four year degree and the undergraduates will earn a salary of £15,500 per annum.

Building work on the new campus is expected to be completed by September 2018, in time for the Institute’s second intake of students.