Unique partnership with the Army brings UTC success
A unique partnership between the University of Southampton, Wiltshire College and the Army has been approved to open a University Technical College (UTC) in Salisbury. UTCs are new state schools for 14-18 year-olds, specialising in Science and Engineering and open to all. There are only around a dozen currently operating in England with more due to open in the next two years.
This will be the first UTC in the country to use the skill needs of the Defence and Protective Science industries to structure students’ learning.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Don Nutbeam, says: “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.”
Project Manager Gordon Aitken explains the thinking behind the development: “Defence and Protective Science 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 per cent 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 8.30am to 5pm 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.
The UTC will not be able to accept applications until early in 2014, but parents, potential students and interested residents can register to be kept in touch with developments by visiting http://www.wiltshire-utc.co.uk/