2,300 students to start school term at new technical colleges

Posted on 3 Sep 2013

A total of 12 new University Technical Colleges will open this month across the UK that will provide a more technical education to 14-18 year olds, in a drive to cultivate more skilled workers.

The 12 new schools will receive 2,300 students in their debut year and will boost the number of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) to 17, with five already operating. The existing five are: Aston University Engineering Academy, Black Country UTC, Central Bedfordshire UTC, Hackney UTC and the JCB Academy.

At full capacity there will be 26,000 students in UTCs in Britain. The Baker Dearing Education Trust, which administers the UTCs, aims to have 44 UTCs in operation by 2015.

The 2,300 starters this year will rise to 10,000 when all 17 schools have reached capacity.

The colleges prepare technicians, engineers and skilled ‘management candidates’ to go into British industry. To date no students at 16 or 18 have left the school unemployed, with most UTCs located in areas of higher than average unemployment.

Across the UK, the proportion of GCSE takers who achieved an A* to C grade was 68.1% in 2013. In contrast the JCB Academy, the original UTC, achieved 100% A* – C grades this summer.

The new UTCs opening in September are listed below:

Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy – Engineering, Environmental Technology
Buckinghamshire UTC (Aylesbury) – IT, Specialist Construction
Daventry UTC
Construction, Sustainable and Related New Technologies
Elstree UTC – Electronic Engineering & Digital Technologies, Entertainment Technologies & Crafts
Liverpool Life Sciences UTC – Life Sciences (health)
Royal Greenwich UTC – Construction, Engineering
Silverstone UTC – Motor Engineering
University Technical College Wigan – Environmental Technology, Process Engineering
UTC Plymouth – Advanced Manufacturing, Marine Engineering
UTC Reading – IT, Computer Science, Software engineering
UTC Sheffield – Advanced Engineering and Materials, Creative and Digital Industries
Visions Learning Trust UTC (Burnley) – Construction, Engineering

Silverstone UTC, which opens this month, sets out to offer a unique curriculum that has been developed in partnership with leading engineering companies throughout the region.

The school will work with partners such as Aston Martin, Caterham F1, Fairline the motor yacht builder and Grandstand Group, with the aim of filling the skills gap for the high performance engineering and events management industries.

Neil Patterson, principal at Silverstone UTC, said he was excited to be a part of the new education initiative.

“Silverstone UTC is an intentional project designed to secure skills for the future of British Industry. Between now and 2020, the UK will need around 156,000 engineering graduates and advanced apprentices per year. We produce only 73,000 currently.

“I am excited to be leading such a ground-breaking initiative in education.”

The technical college concept was spearheaded by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and receives the support of 44 universities as well as 400 companies, the Trust says.

Lord Kenneth Baker, chairman of BDT, said he was “delighted” to see 12 new UTCs opening this month.

“I am delighted to see a further 12 UTCs opening this month. These innovative schools produce highly skilled young people who are desperately needed to further the economic growth of our country.”

HRH the Duke of York, patron of BDT, added his approval. “UTCs are an excellent example of innovative education and there is no doubt that they will provide many young people with the necessary skills and technical knowledge to become economically active. I send my best wishes to all the students and staff at each of the 12 new UTCs opening this month.”