10 December 2013

Educating Engineers of the Future at Brand New UTC Swindon

“The college will represent a first class and leading educational institution providing an exceptional learning experience for young people.”
Dr Gareth Neighbour

The University Technical College (UTC) Swindon, in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, has taken a momentous step forward as the Department for Education (DfE) officially gives the institution the green light to proceed.

The new funding agreement from the DfE represents the last important step required as part of the development of UTC Swindon. This significant milestone in the development of the brand new £10m college formalises the contract between UTC Swindon and the government to run the state-funded engineering academy. The government will also provide the on-going year-on-year budget that is needed to run the educational institution, which is co-sponsored by Oxford Brookes University and Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells.

UTC Swindon is an exciting new concept in engineering education, which will work in partnership with industry and education partners to train young people to become outstanding engineers. The unique specialist college will provide students with the technical skills and knowledge they need to progress on to university, an apprenticeship, or a successful career as a highly-skilled engineer.

Paul Inman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Oxford Brookes University and UTC Swindon Director, said:

“We have reached a significant milestone in our journey towards producing the next generation of highly-skilled engineers.”

“Importantly, construction can now begin and we are extremely grateful to Network Rail for the opportunity to site the building on the original Great Western Rail Works. Those attending UTC Swindon will have the chance to build on this legacy and we look forward to welcoming our first students in September 2014.”

Paul Holmes, Automation and Mechanical Design Manager for Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and UTC Swindon Director, added:

“This announcement is a historic moment for UTC Swindon and represents the final approval from the Department for Education to progress to opening. UTC Swindon will be an innovative new educational facility in engineering and technology, set in a stunning building design, carefully blended in an historic setting.”

“The college will provide young people in the region with a fantastic opportunity to gain highly desirable skills, to meet future employers’ demands and raise aspirations in progressing their careers. We have already received strong interest from students and parents about joining UTC Swindon and being a part of its future. We look forward to being able to share the vision and provide more detail at the various events and open evenings planned over the coming months.”

The announcement from the Department of Education follows months of hard work to get everything in place, including important arrangements for the premises to be leased on Network Rail’s land on Bristol Street, Swindon. The design for the new technical college is both iconic and unique, with architects blending design ideas from the 19th Century heritage of railway engineering with forward looking 21st century designs for engineering applications of the future. This will provide a state-of-the-art high tech college campus where students will be able to study engineering in a modern, clean, industrial environment. As part of this exciting new design concept, the water tower which is a well-known engineering landmark will be restored and used as part of the engineering curriculum. Many UTCs opening elsewhere in the country are in converted school buildings; so the new UTC Swindon will be uniquely built in a modern industrial setting.

Dr Gareth Neighbour, Head of UTC Swindon’s educational planning and Head of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, said:

“The college will represent a first class and leading educational institution providing an exceptional learning experience for young people.”

UTC Swindon opens in September 2014. Prospective students can apply now by calling 07990 601516 or by visiting the UTC Swindon website.