Lord Baker visits the University Technical College for Sheffield City Region

Banner image: L-R Nick Crew, Lord Baker, Cllr Jackie Drayton, Phil Harrison of Wates Construction and Lee Geedes of Mott MacDonald

Uniquely the UTC will offer pupils the chance to start their further education at the age of 14, as well as the usual 16.

 

“It is great to see the city really getting behind this initiative and leading the way in providing what will be a first class training for future generations.”

 

 

Lord Baker (pictured second from left) has visited the site of Sheffield’s new University Technical College to view construction progress.

The man who kick started the raft of new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) appearing across the country visited the site during his attendance to Sheffield for the North of England Education Conference.

The city’s first UTC is currently under construction on Sidney Street and is due to open to pupils for the first time this September.

Now Lord Kenneth Baker, the former Government Education Secretary has been the driving force behind the plans for UTCs across the country.

Plans for Sheffield’s UTC came out of a meeting with Lord Baker with Sheffield City Council in the Town Hall more than two years ago.

Lord Baker visited the site ahead of his keynote speech at the prestigious North of England Education Conference being held in the city last week where he talked about the importance of UTCs to help boost local economies and businesses.

The Council led the move to bring the UTC to the city. The facility is being delivered by a UTC Trust led by The Sheffield College, along with other key partners.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “The UTC will be revolutionary in the way we deliver education in the city.  It is imperative that we equip our young people with the right skills for the jobs that are out there and I believe the UTC will lead the way in this form of education.

“There are jobs out there for young people contrary to popular belief but all too often youngsters are failing to achieve them as they haven’t been given the right tools for the job.

“The UTC will uniquely train youngsters directly for these jobs, giving them technical skills which will set them up for life.

“It is great to have Lord Baker’s recognition of the hard work which is being done to achieve the city’s – and the region’s – first UTC.”

Speaking in Sheffield last year Lord Baker, who played a key role in setting up the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which is promoting the growth of the new colleges, urged businesses from across the Sheffield City Region to throw their weight behind the new UTC.

He said:  “We want businesses to have a much greater involvement in the educational process than industry has ever had in this country.

“We expect local companies to get really engaged and work with the University technical College in a way that they have never been given the chance before. Not only will we want them to provide work experience or apprenticeships but also we want them to really shape what is being taught in the college.

“I am delighted to be visiting Sheffield to see the progress of the city’s UTC. It is great to see the city really getting behind this initiative and leading the way in providing what will be a first class training for future generations.”

Uniquely the UTC will offer pupils the chance to start their further education at the age of 14, as well as the usual 16.

Lord Baker believes the British system of starting secondary education at 11 was a hangover from the requirements of Grammar Schools.

He firmly believes 14 is the right age to start “secondary” education, because pupils had a clearer understanding of what they want to do with their lives by then.

Nick Crew, new Principal of the University Technical College added: “We are delighted to welcome Lord Baker to the UTC Sheffield, which is successfully getting off the ground with applications already starting to come in. The UTC Sheffield is the first of its kind in Yorkshire and the Humber, and provides young people from the city and beyond with an exciting new opportunity to gain the creative and industrious skills in addition to academic qualifications, that our world class industries need.”

Speaking on behalf of the main contractor for the project, Managing Director of Wates Construction Midlands and North, Phil Harrison, said: “Sheffield UTC is set to significantly transform the higher education offering for young people in Sheffield and we have applied our extensive expertise in educational buildings to deliver what is shaping up to be a truly innovative centre for vocational learning. Lord Baker has been a significant driving force to getting this flagship project to where it is today and I am delighted to welcome him to site to see the project come to life.”

Meanwhile students are still being urged to sign up for courses starting this September.

It is one of only a handful of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) nationally to offer highly technical subjects to teenagers.

The UTC will place a strong focus on training young people in modern technical and vocational skills linked to local advanced engineering and manufacturing, and creative and new media. Student places are anticipated to total 600.

A series of free taster sessions and showcase events providing an opportunity to find out about the new UTC from the Principal, as well as to meet supporting employers and activities have been organised for January. Young people, parents and teachers are welcome and can sign up for courses at the sessions. For more information visit: https://www.utcsheffield.org.uk/events/

Picture Left to Right: Nick Crew, Principal of UTC Sheffield, Lord Baker, Cllr Jackie Drayton, Phil Harrison of Wates Construction and Lee Geddes of Mott MacDonald.

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