27 June 2012

HE Government gives approval for Swindon University Technical College

Today the Government named Swindon UTC as one of the 15 University Technical Colleges (UTCs) to open across the country over the next two years (see full list below). 27 applications for the latest round were received in January 2012 of which 15 were approved bringing the total number of UTCs to 34.

The Swindon UTC will specialise in Engineering with Business and Enterprise & Entrepreneurship. This exceptional educational offering is supported by Oxford Brookes University, and is working in partnership with Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, Swindon College and Swindon Borough Council, plus a range of local companies.

Institution Specialism
Birkenhead UTC (Merseyside)Engineering
Bluewater UTC (Dartford/Thameside)Engineering, Integrated Computer Science
Cambridge UTCBio-medical Science & Technology, Environmental Science & Technology
East London UTC (Thames Gateway) Mechanical (manufacturing) engineering, Product Design and Development
Energy Coast UTC (Cumbria)Energy
The Elstree UTC (Hertfordshire)Electronic Engineering and Digital Technologies Entertainment Technologies and Crafts
Harlow UTCEnvironmental Engineering, Medical Technology
Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC (Hillingdon/Northolt)Aviation Engineering
Lincoln UTCCore Science, Engineering
Liverpool Low Carbon and SuperPort UTCEngineering, Logistics
MediaCityUK UTC (Salford)Creative and Digital Industries, Entrepreneurship
Norfolk UTC (Norwich)Advanced Engineering, Energy Skills
Swindon UTCEngineering with Business, Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
WMG Academy for Young Engineers (at the University of Warwick)Engineering with Digital Technology
West Midlands Construction UTC (Walsall)Construction & the application of IT in the Built Environment

For the past four years, the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (BDT) has been working with the Department for Education, local employers, universities and further education colleges to develop a national network of UTCs. The UTC movement is backed by major players from British industry, with employers across all regions pledging their support. Lord Kenneth Baker, Chairman of BDT, said: "The Coalition Government continues to show its commitment to these new colleges for 14-19 year olds by expanding the national network. I am delighted that it has all party support and so many people right across the country want to open UTCs. Companies up and down the country who need highly skilled technicians and engineers support UTCs which bind universities and industry into their establishment, governance and curriculum design. UTCs will help our economic growth. Almost 300 companies are supporting these 34 UTCs - an outstanding industrial commitment. We will continue to develop more UTCs to be announced later this year."

About University Technical Colleges

They are distinct in three important ways:

  1. They are 14-19 not 11-18 schools
  2. Each must be sponsored by a university and local employers
  3. Employers will be involved from the start in shaping the curriculum

UTCs are a high quality new route to education and training which follows through to further study and employment. They are a radical solution to the totally inadequate number of technicians and engineers in the country. They are free standing colleges for 600 - 800 14 to 19 year old students, with a working day of 8:30am - 5:30pm. Students spend two days a week on practical study and three days a week on academic study linking the hand with the mind. Each UTC provides at least one technical specialism alongside the key GCSEs in English, maths and science, as well as a foreign language, humanities, finance, business, entrepreneurial and employability skills.

All UTCs are supported by a university, a range of local employers and very often an FE college. This unique approach offers students a high quality, rounded, technical education which can lead to apprenticeships, foundation and higher degrees.

Local employers both big and small have a major and continuing role via the governance of the UTC. They help to shape the curriculum and relate it to future jobs that match the needs of the local economy. Students in turn acquire the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.