Sunday, 30 August 2015

Firms urged to join in creation of technical college

An artist's impression of how the west Cumbria University Technical College will look

Businesses have been urged to play an active role in the development of the University Technical College being planned for west Cumbria.

The college will be built at Lillyhall next to Lakes College and is due to take its first students in 2014 and will eventually offer places for 500 pupils between 14 and 19-years-old.

Mike Smith, chief executive of GEN II Training and a member of the new college’s board says there are a number of levels for businesses to get involved and support the project.

He told members of the Britiain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster that firms could: offer their advice to board members and help determine the skills taught and ethos of the college; offer high quality placements; give students access to specialist facilities; become members of the board or house sponsors.

The first students should start at the college in September 2014 – the culmination of a tight schedule that will see the principal take up their post in September 2013 and construction starting in April 2013.

The first intake will be of around 100 to 120 14 to 16 year-olds in years 10 to 12, Mr Smith said, adding: “It might be that the first cohort of year 12s could be involved in the construction of a new build nuclear station and the year 10s could be the first employed to operate it.”

The UTC would ensure the skills gap identified by employers and highlighted in the recent report by Lord Heseltine, he said.

“The skills demanded for this part of the world are phenomenal, but the UTC will reignite technical training,” Mr Smith said.

The college will offer a tailored education to 14 to 19 year-olds who will be taught a curriculum featuring English, maths and science along with construction, specialised engineering and design training.

The role of foreign languages and humanities is still being discussed.

Any businesses wanting to know more about the UTC project should contact Maureen Palmer via


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