Unique Partnership with the Army brings UTC Success
A unique partnership between Wiltshire College, the University of Southampton and the Army has been approved to open a University Technical College (UTC) in Salisbury. This will be the first UTC in the country to focus on Science and Engineering in the context of the Defence Industries.
Project Manager Gordon Aitken explained the thinking behind the development:
“Defence and Scientific Protection industries dominate the economy of South Wiltshire and provide huge employment opportunities for young people with the right skills. The Army is increasingly concentrating its armoured and engineering regiments on Salisbury Plain while Porton Down is home to world leading organisations specialising in health protection and defence science.”
The partnership behind the UTC includes the University of Southampton, 43 (Wessex) Brigade, Wiltshire College, Wiltshire Council and major employers including QinetiQ, the Health Protection Agency, Tetricus Science Park, the Defence Scientific and Technology Laboratory, Wallop Defence Systems and Chemring Countermeasures.
The commander of the 43 (Wessex) Brigade, Brigadier Piers Hankinson explains the significance for the Army:
“The Government has announced the Army’s future Basing Plan that will result in approximately 25% of the Army and their dependants being based in Wiltshire from 2018. This will include the strongest concentration of armoured and engineering regiments in the Country. South Wiltshire UTC will be a great new option for service families as well as providing local businesses with the skilled employees they will need to be part of the Army’s growing supply and support chain. We look forward to working very closely with the UTC in a mutually beneficial relationship.”
UTC students work “business hours” attending from 8.30-5.00 for 40 weeks a year. This means the equivalent of around half a year of extra teaching each year compared to most schools. The extra teaching time allows students to gain industry-recognised Engineering and Science qualifications alongside more traditional academic qualifications like GCSEs and A Levels. Wiltshire College Principal Di Dale commented:
“I am delighted that young people in South Wiltshire will have this new opportunity to combine an excellent education with exciting industrial and business experience. This will give them a strong competitive edge in their search for further learning, training and career opportunities.”
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Don Nutbeam, explained the University’s contribution:
"The University is delighted at the success of the UTC application. The UTC will offer an exciting new option for young people, giving them the skills and understanding to progress to science and engineering courses at top universities and to take advantage of the huge job opportunities in the region. As University sponsor, we will work closely with the UTC to ensure that it offers a relevant and stretching curriculum and will give the students access to our world-leading facilities and industry experts."
Learning at the South Wiltshire UTC will be given relevance and context by reference to the Defence and Scientific Protection industries and by strong links with the Army. Carolyn Godfrey, Director of Children’s Services at Wiltshire Council explains the importance of this:
“The UTC will provide an exciting and very different option for young people and their parents in South Wiltshire. The defence industries are crucial to the Wiltshire economy and there are tremendous job opportunities in Science and Engineering for young people with the right skills. We will be working very closely with the UTC in the months ahead to make sure it is as easy as possible for young people who want to join the UTC to do so.”
The UTC will be able to accept applications from early in 2014.
South Wiltshire UTC Project Manager:
Gordon Aitken on 07891 585898 or GordonRAitken@gmail.com.
Check out our new website www.wiltshire-utc.co.uk
Follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/southwiltsUTC
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