Inventor James Dyson is launching a new university

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Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson might be a household name for his nifty vacuum cleaners, but he's now making the move into the world of education with plans to launch his own university.

Dyson is investing £15 million over the next five years into the Dyson Institute of Technology as he looks to double his engineering workforce to 6,000 by 2020.

He said the private sector had a duty to help plug the engineering skills gap because the UK needs 10 times as many engineers as it did 10 years ago.

Artists impression of Dyson Institute of Technology
(Wilkson Eyre/Dyson/PA)

"We are competing globally with Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. It's all the major technology nations and we have got to be better than them," he said.

The Dyson Institute of Technology - which will be based at Dyson's campus in Wiltshire - will take its first 25 students in September next year.

As part of the course, students will not pay any fees, be handed a salary and work alongside Dyson engineers on up-coming products.

Dyson
(Dyson/PA)

Dyson said the idea of launching the university came after he visited the Government to "moan about the lack of engineers". He was advised to take matters into his own hands.

The degrees will initially be awarded by Warwick University, with Dyson applying for powers from the Department for Education to create a full-fledged university.

But the Dyson Institute of Technology will only gain university status if proposals in a Government White Paper - Success as a Knowledge Economy - make their way into law.

Dyson
(Dyson/PA)

On automation, Dyson said people were wrong to be concerned about the impact on employment from the rise of sophisticated robots. "A lot more of our production is fully automated, but people are needed for other things," he said.

"We don't need to worry about automation or robots at all. It increases the number of more interesting jobs for people."