Rt Hon David Blunkett MP visits UTC Sheffield

Pictured:  UTC Sheffield students with (left to right) Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, Alex Reynolds, Vice Principal, Nicola Simpson, Business & Operations Manager, and Brigidin Crowther, Assistant Principal

The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP met staff and students at UTC Sheffield – the first university technical college in Yorkshire – on Thursday, April 10.

During his visit, the former Secretary of State for Education and Employment toured the £9.9 million facility on Matilda Street and heard about the progress made in the first two terms of operation since the UTC opened its doors in September 2013.

He spoke to learners about the skills they are developing in the two key sectors that UTC Sheffield specialises in – digital industries and advanced engineering and manufacturing – both of which are central to the region’s economic success as outlined in the newly published Growth Plan from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

On arrival, the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough met five students from his constituency who shared their hopes for the future.

Jack Smith a digital industries student explained to Mr Blunkett that he has a particular passion for photography, so after the official photographer took his picture Mr Blunkett asked Jack to take his picture as well.  Jack commented, “Mr Blunkett was easy to talk to.  I thought I might be nervous but it was fun!”

Mr Blunkett then accompanied Vice Principal Alex Reynolds on a tour of the high-tech facility which is fitted with £1 million of specialist equipment including engineering mini factories, state-of-the-art design studios, and a multi-use rooftop sports pitch. The new 14-19 academy which has been developed to meet the skills needs of the regional and wider UK economy has already attracted plaudits from visitors including Rt Hon Lord Baker, founder of the university technical college programme, Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP and HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG who officially opened UTC Sheffield.

Assistant Principal Brigidin Crowther, who introduced the students to their MP, commented, “We were delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Mr Blunkett MP to UTC Sheffield. His own story of challenge and achievement is hugely inspiring to our students. We have already had many prominent visitors including regular visits by top employers from our specialist sectors who are involved in development and delivery of the curriculum at the UTC, so our young people are becoming confident and self-assured in welcoming new guests. They enjoy explaining how they study academic courses alongside a technical specialism and the value they see in our employer-led curriculum. We are proud of how well they present themselves to all visitors as this is a key skill in life.”

More than 40 employers from both the digital industries and the engineering and manufacturing sectors are backing UTC Sheffield in a range of ways. This includes shaping the curriculum and its content by setting industry based projects.

Key supporters from Digital Industries include Sumo Digital, Finger Industries, Resolve IT, Team Cooper Games, VisionMix and Warp Films. Supporters from Engineering and Manufacturing include Siemens Plc, Newburgh Engineering, Performance Engineered Solutions, Rolls Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, Tata Steel, and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.

Applications for places for September 2014 at the UTC Sheffield are being accepted now and there are still places available for Year 10.  To apply online visit: http://utcsheffield.org.uk/apply.

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