UTC Sheffield Alumni Celebrate Cambridge University National First

UTC Sheffield alumni Oliver Smith and Jake Stuchbury-Wass have made history by achieving a regional and national first.

The high achieving pair are the first students from UTC Sheffield to get to Cambridge University. They are also the first students nationally who have completed Cambridge Technicals in Engineering qualifications to study at the world leading university.

The 18-year-olds have just started degrees in engineering at the Cambridge University after completing their studies at UTC Sheffield City Centre campus, on Matilda Street. Both Oliver and Jake achieved three A* grades in maths, further maths and physics. They also gained distinction* grades in their engineering technical qualifications.

Oliver said: “All of my family and friends are very proud of my achievement and have been very supportive in helping me to reach it. I felt shocked and very pleased when I opened the results envelope as my grades exceeded what I needed to get into the Cambridge University. It feels a real accomplishment to have got in, and it’s also great for the UTC.”

He added: “Studying at the UTC was different to my previous school in that I was able to study a technical qualification in addition to normal A-Levels. All the teachers are very knowledgeable in their subject area and proved very helpful in helping me to meet my offer for Cambridge.”

Jake said: “I feel really proud and very relieved. I’ve had some very positive reactions from family and friends. No-one in my immediate family has been to university. Studying at the UTC has really prepared me for my longer term university and career ambitions, and I want to thank the teachers for all of their support.”

Alex Reynolds, Principal, UTC Sheffield City Centre campus, said: “We are extremely proud of our students and want to congratulate them on their technical excellence and academic success, and wish them all the very best for their future. Our students have proven that completing Cambridge Technicals qualifications, as part of their learning, with us has contributed to their fantastic achievements.”

Leo Shapiro, OCR Chief Executive, said:  “On behalf of OCR, many congratulations to Oliver and Jake on their fantastic achievement, supported by the inspiring learning environment at the UTC. The pair are a first for us too; they’re the first students with OCR’s appropriately named ‘Cambridge’ Technicals in Engineering qualifications to get to Cambridge University. We wish Oliver and Jake great success at Cambridge and beyond.”

UTC Sheffield City Centre campus is Ofsted graded ‘good’ and was the first UTC to open in Yorkshire and Humber in September 2013. All students complete a technical qualification in one or two specialisms: advanced engineering and manufacturing or creative and digital. They are equivalent to one-and-half or two A Levels.  The technical qualification pass rate this summer was 100% for creative and digital, and 96% for engineering.

A second campus, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, opened in September 2016 and specialises in computing, health sciences and sport science. Their first set of results will be next summer. From September 2018, young people will be able to join the UTC Sheffield in Year 9 at the age of 13, in Year 10 at the age of 14 or in Year 12 at the age of 16.

Oliver and Jake were inspired to apply to Cambridge University by their maths teachers who also studied there. Oliver commented: “I would never had thought that getting into Cambridge was possible, but my maths teacher, Miss Hughes, studied engineering there and thought that I had the potential and encouraged me to apply. Her knowledge proved invaluable not just in guiding us through the application process but in also meeting our offer. She was able to offer very specific advice that I perhaps wouldn’t have got elsewhere.”

He continued: “I felt very nervous at the interview but did some research beforehand. The focus was very much on problem solving skills, and being at the UTC has helped me to develop that mindset. That’s why I enjoy engineering – it’s all about learning how to apply theory to real world solutions. On the Cambridge course, I’m studying a broad range of engineering disciplines first before choosing a specialism later. This will give me a chance to find what I enjoy most before choosing a specific area.”

Jake added: “I hadn’t thought about Cambridge but my maths teacher suggested it, as she had studied the same course there. I felt very nervous about the interview but I did some preparation and that really helped.”

As part of his studies at the UTC, Jake took part in WorldSkills 2016 and was part of a team that won a gold medal in the industrial control category. Jake explained: “I’ve had a great time at the UTC. I chose to move to the UTC at 16 because of the engineering specialism and A level subjects that support that, which makes it different to other schools. I’ve really enjoyed the hands-on technical learning, and taking part in the WorldSkills competition helped me develop team working, problem solving and time management skills.”

Oliver added: “I would definitely recommend the UTC. The teachers have been fantastic, nothing is too much for them. The facilities are great and so is the atmosphere. A lot of the students are really interested in their studies and the technical specialisms because they have chosen to study at the UTC for that reason.”

Get updated

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news from the UTC
Computing
Creative & Digital
Engineering
Health Sciences
Sport Science