Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News: Sheffield City Region University Technical College bid approved


The Government has approved a bid for a University Technical College (UTC) for the Sheffield City Region that will "bring together Advanced Engineering and Materials and Creative and Digital Industries in a community of learning."

UTCs are academies for 14–19-year-olds. They focus on providing technical education that meets the needs of modern business. They offer full-time courses, which focus on technical specialisms and academic studies.

The bid from the Sheffield UTC Academy Trust has now been approved by the Department for Education. The Sheffield UTC will specialise in Advanced Engineering and Materials and Creative and Digital Industries. These two high growth sectors will be brought together in a community of learning which will deliver greater impact than either could achieve independently.

The proposed project sponsors would be The Sheffield College but it would effectively be led by employers from the relevant sectors within the City Region. Directors of the Sheffield UTC Academy Trust include representatives from the two Sheffield universities, Sheffield Chamber and businesses including Vincent Middleton, managing director of Newburgh Engineering in Rotherham.

Other significant local employers have put themselves forward as partners including Rotherham's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, Newburgh and Tata Steel. Rotherham-based training provider, Brinsworth Training is also involved as partners.

The bid set out the intention to locate the Sheffield UTC Academy Trust within a £8m new build on the Digital Campus in Sheffield but the possibility of a location on or alongside the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham is also being explored.

The UTC is planned to open in 2013 with 240 students, rising to 600 in 2015. It will "engage closely and deeply with employers to create a workplace driven learning experience. Students will emerge with the right skills and will be highly employable, flexible and productive lifelong learners with clear, exciting prospects."

As well as delivering full time courses, it is anticipated that the UTC will be at the heart of a growth in apprenticeship provision for the two sectors.

Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: "This is fantastic news as it will be a huge boost to the region. Not only will it provide world class expertise right here in Sheffield but it will also bring much needed jobs to the area.

"Our modern economy depends on advanced technical skills, and to have one of the first dedicated University Technical Colleges right here on our doorstep will be a great opportunity for future generations in the area."

Education Secretary Michael Gove added: "The people who are driving Free Schools and UTCs are true pioneers. They are leading a revolution in the education system.

"UTCs are a key part of the Government's drive to provide school leavers with the technical knowledge and skills that industry demands. This is vital for our economic growth."

The bid to create "Rotherham Central Free School" has also been approved by the DfE.

Sheffield College website

Images: Carey Jones / Sheffield College


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