UWE Bristol supports plans for region's University Technical College

Issue date: 10 October 2011

UWE Bristol is helping City of Bristol College with the plans for a University Technical College (UTC), which have been given the go-ahead to progress to the next stage. The UTC, which is proposed to be known as Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy, plans to offer up to 600 students from the age of 14 an innovative approach to learning through full-time study linked to real projects.

The Academy will aim to build on the region's national reputation as a hub for advanced engineering, aerospace and environmental technologies. It will support these high growth sectors, which are critical to the region's long-term economic success, and will boost the skills available in this area.

Plans for the initiative draw on UWE Bristol's reputation for building progression and reducing the hurdles between colleges and higher education in order to deliver and restore the UK's home grown engineering skills base.

Professor Paul Olomolaiye, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean at UWE Bristol,comments, “UWE Bristol's sponsorship of Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy builds on our commitment to working in partnership, and recognises the strategic significance of education to the future and development of the city. Through this initiative, we are pleased to be involved in stimulating, supporting and providing routes to education from under-represented groups and sectors of the city and region.”

By offering a wide range of qualifications in a work-related environment, Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy will help students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to become engineers and green technicians of the future.

It is hoped that the Academy will open in 2013 and will serve the wider Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area.

UTCs, which will provide specialised engineering and technical schools for 14-19 year-olds, have been hailed as one of the most radical changes in education for a generation. With a focus on employability, students will benefit from a work-related learning environment and real work experience. Employers play an active role in shaping what is taught, to help students develop skills and qualifications that are relevant for the workplace.

Keith Elliott, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College, comments, “Engineering and green technologies are vital to the success of this region's economy and this new initiative will offer young people a chance to gain the skills required for a successful career. The UTC will give local students an opportunity to become the engineers and business leaders of the future, and we are delighted that our plans can now move to the next stage.”

Colin Skellet, Chairman of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “The new UTC will directly address a key concern for the West of England, which is to increase the supply of young local people with the skills which a knowledge economy demands. It is hugely encouraging to see two of our major institutions working with each other and the critical employers to bring the plans to this stage of development.”

Other organisations from across the West of England have pledged support for the UTC, including Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Ablaze, CBI South West, GKN Aerospace, DAF Trucks, Midas Group, Wates Group and IoD South West.

It is understood that approximately 13 UTC proposals from across the UK have received approval to move to the next stage. Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy is the only one from this round of applications set to serve the wider Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area.


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