Chancellor George Osborne has announced seven new university technical colleges (UTCs) and four new studio schools, backed by employers to equip young people with the skills needed to secure high-tech jobs in the IT and engineering sectors.
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The schools will provide 5,000 students aged 14-19 with technical or vocational-based education with curriculums developed by local businesses and universities.
The new institutions will work with more than 40 employers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Dyson, Hitachi and Kew Botanical Gardens.
Osborne said: “University technical colleges are a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan because they help ensure young people have the right skills so they can maximise their potential. The new colleges will provide the next generation of British workers with the skills they need to secure the high-tech jobs of the future.”
Schools minister Lord Nash said: “Equipping young people with the skills they need to secure great jobs is a key part of this government’s long-term economic plan. These new schools are such an important part of our education reform programme because they are particularly tailored for young people with an aptitude for more technical learning. It is right that technical education is on a par with academic learning.
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“These schools will harness the talents of students, offering them hands-on learning alongside their GCSEs and A-levels, to provide them with the technical knowledge and skills that employers demand.”
South Durham UTC will be the first one in the North East and is scheduled to open in 2016. Sponsored by Hitachi Rail Europe and Gestamp Tallent, it will specialise in engineering and advanced manufacturing.
The Grange Studio School aims to open in Bristol in 2015, and is sponsored by Cabot Learning Federation, the West of England Aerospace Forum and Business West (Chamber of Commerce). The school will specialise in developing skills in high-tech, advanced engineering and the creative digital industries.
David Nicoll, chief executive of the Studio Schools Trust, said: “This announcement is good news for both young people and employers. Studio schools are spreading – and will soon be a network of almost 50 – because they have shown their worth in providing young people with the skills and attitudes they need to make a success of work and life.”
Keith Jordan, managing director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “I am delighted that Hitachi Rail Europe’s joint application with Sunderland University and Gestamp Tallent for a university technical college has been given the go-ahead. By attending our UTC, pupils will be able to gain a better understanding of the skills needed for a career in technology and explore whether this is a career path suited to their abilities.
“For businesses in the north-east of England and across the whole country, it is vital that we attract young people into technical and engineering professions from an early age.”