The UTC – billed as a new concept in secondary education – has been given the green light by the Department for Education. The Medway UTC was one of 13 new UTCs announced today, bringing the national UTC total, when fully operational, to 45 which will cater for up to 27,000 students.
The UTC in Chatham will specialise in engineering and construction, traditionally at the heart of Medway’s economy, and will be sponsored by the University of Greenwich, MidKent College, Medway Council and local employers.
Work to get the college up and running will start immediately.
Speaking of the news, Mark Reckless MP said:
“I am delighted that at the third time of trying we have succeeded in our application to have a University Technical College founded in Medway. Along with so many in the Council and partnership team I have lobbied ministers furiously to bring a UTC to Medway. We have succeeded.
We must now all work together to establish a first class vocational college to develop craft and technical skills for a new generation as the Dockyard did for previous generations.”
A number of local employers and businesses pledged their support to the college as part of the bid, including leaders in the construction and engineering industries BAE Systems, Delphi Diesel Systems, BAM Construct UK, Denne Construction and Gainwell Futures, along with the Royal School of Military Engineering.
Lord Kenneth Baker of The Baker Dearing Education Trust, which was founded by Lord Baker and Lord Dearing to promote University Technical Colleges and provide advice and guidance to proposer groups, said:
“Today’s announcement shows a continuing growth in the size and impact of the UTC movement. I am delighted that UTCs enjoy all-party support and that the Coalition has continued to back them. UTCs are employer-led and university supported – more than 400 companies and 45 universities are now supporting UTCs.”
Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Cllr Les Wicks, said:
“Medway has a rich history of construction and engineering and a college specialising in these subjects will not only continue this tradition, but will also equip a new generation with first class technical skills that will help them pursue careers in these important sectors at all levels.
“This is great news for the young people of Medway who deserve this opportunity. My thanks go to everyone who has shown their support for the bid and backed it throughout. Now the plans can really start.”
Medway Council Director of Children’s Services Barbara Peacock said:
“This is great news for Medway students. The council and its partners have always been committed to the delivery of a university technical college for Medway.
“Medway’s economy will benefit greatly from having a UTC and now we are able to get on and make it a reality.
“A UTC will enable a degree of specialisation prior to age 16 that is currently unavailable and which will re-engage and enthuse students.”
Professor Alan Reed, Director of Regional Development at the University of Greenwich and Chair of Medway UTC Partnership, said:
“We are delighted that the government has agreed to fund a University Technical College in Medway.
“This college will provide a third option to secondary education, as well as a lasting legacy to Medway and the wider sub-region. I thank all those who put in so much time and effort into making this happen. The partnership now looks forward to turning its vision into a reality for the young people of Medway and surrounding areas.”
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