Monday, 31 August 2015

West Cumbria to get £10m University Technical College

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

The Government today gave its backing to a new £10 million University Technical College in west Cumbria.

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

It will specialise in the energy sector and engineering is being backed by the Nuclear Decomissioninig Authority. and it will use the specialist facilities and training offered by GEN II/Energus and Lakes College

The college is among 15 new University Technical Colleges announced by the Government today.Others include colleges linked to firms such as Jaguar Land Rover and Virgin Atlantic.

The 15 new state-funded colleges are all linked to institutions including universities and businesses and will open in 2013 and 2014. They will join a network of 17 UTCs due to open this September or next.

Each of the colleges is focused on a local industry or trade – with a UTC near Heathrow centred on aviation engineering, and another in Salford close to the MediaCityUK complex, which houses BBC North and other media firms.

Pupils can elect to study at the UTCs at either 14 or 16. Curriculums include about 60 per cent of material on core academic subjects via GCSEs and A-Levels, and 40 per cent on specific technical skills and qualifications.

The technical side is tailored by the locally involved company and university.

Rob Rimmer, Energy Coast Campus Programme Director, said: "This will help create the workforce needed to make west Cumbria the most important area energy in the UK."

The UTC for West Cumbria is not without controversy though. The county council raised fears that the college would pose a threat to smaller schools. In a statement in March it said: “We can’t support a new provider which would destabilise existing provision.”

For more reaction and detail on how the UTC will work click here

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