My experience of the UTC – a Parent’s Perspective with Jan
Jan is parent of current UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park student, Grace, and former students Cameron and Holly, who all had a fantastic experience at the UTC. They each had a unique journey as they studied different specialisms, but all achieved excellent results. We spoke to Jan about her experiences as a parent and why her children chose to study at a university technical college.
How did you hear about the UTC?
My eldest child, Cameron, originally told me about the UTC, after he visited the website and had a positive first impression. As it was new, I was a little hesitant about him going, however, I wanted to take a risk and let him make his own decisions. After Cameron had such a good experience at the UTC, I felt reassured that my daughters, Grace and Holly, would be happy here too, so they joined several years later.
What has impressed you about the UTC?
I like the fact my children have worked alongside like-minded students, who enjoy going to school and are passionate about their specialisms. The employer-based learning also stood out to me.
So, for example, the UTC has set Holly up for her University degree perfectly. She is now studying Radiotherapy and Oncology at Sheffield Hallam University and she recently had some positive feedback from her current placement at James Cook Hospital. They said she approached the clinical placement as if she had done it before, and they were really impressed. This was because she was lucky enough to have the experience of shadowing health professionals for two weeks at Weston Park Hospital thanks to the UTC – she wouldn’t have got this elsewhere.
Everything Holly’s learnt over the past few years on the Health Sciences course at the UTC has given her an excellent foundation for her future career in the healthcare sector. Grace has followed in her footsteps, studying Health Sciences and Social Care alongside GCSEs to start with, and now for her Post 16 studies. Like Holly, she’s done really well.
Why did Cameron decide to study Sport Science?
Cameron started on the Engineering course at the City Centre campus, and then decided to move to Olympic Legacy Park to study Sport Science. He loved this specialism and the UTC fully supported his decision to change courses. The school wants what’s best for everyone and helps each individual find out what they enjoy the most. If a student wants to change specialism then the UTC are always there to ensure that this is actioned. My children joining the UTC was the best thing I have ever done.
What support have you received at the UTC?
Another good thing the UTC has done is provide excellent one-to-one tutor support for Cameron. They go out of their way to ensure that all of my children are happy both academically and personally. During lockdown, we’ve received so much support from staff members, which has really reassured me. The school has been there for us during the difficult times and responded quickly to any questions we had.
What has Holly been doing since she finished at the UTC?
After achieving fantastic results, Holly has gone on to study a Radiotherapy and Oncology Degree at Sheffield Hallam University. The UTC helped to prepare her for this, not just academically, but they also helped with university applications, interviews and personal statements.
Why are UTCs needed?
With the UTC being employed-based, it allows students to gain an insight into the real world, so they can get an idea of what they could be doing in the future. They are treated like adults and learn within a professional environment. Students get the chance to speak to top employers in industry and receive expert advice, which helps to prepare them for the world of work. The facilities at the UTC are amazing, in each specialism there’s high-standard equipment which assists with learning. For example, within Health there’s a ward set-up that students can use in lessons to help with their work.
What would your advice to other parents be?
I’ve already recommended the UTC to my friends as I’ve had a great experience here. I would advise parents to make sure they go to an open evening so they can ask questions. The communication is fantastic, so all staff members will be happy to talk through any worries parents may have. Tutors go above and beyond to help out, and you wouldn’t get that in a mainstream school. The school frequently ring up and say positive things about my children when they’ve done well. If parents are looking for somewhere where they will be regularly updated and fully supported, the UTC is the place to be.