THE building work on an engineering and manufacturing college has got under way with a ground-cutting ceremony.
Organisations involved with the University Technical College (UTC) Portsmouth were at the site to see the building work start and also announce the college’s principal.
Ciaran O’Dowda, current headteacher at Crofton School in Stubbington, will take on the role on January 1, and said he was excited about the college’s focus on Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
He said: ‘I was educated in this area and worked in this area and I am very happy to give something back.
‘I am very impressed with the amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes.
‘It is exciting to see the building works started and for the first time it feels real.
The UTC will give another dimension to the opportunities young people have in Portsmouth.David Williams
‘With my teaching background in physics, I am a product of Stem education and the opportunity to run a school specialising in Stem was a great opportunity.’
Today’s ceremony at the Trafalgar School site, in Hilsea, was called a momentous day by Portsmouth City Council chief executive David Williams.
He said: ‘The UTC will give another dimension to the opportunities young people have in Portsmouth.
‘It is a real breakthrough for the city. For us, and for Portsmouth the UTC is a tremendous fit and we are delighted to be at this stage.
‘A huge amount of work has gone into this and our partners have been really helpful to the city in making sure the UTC is a reality.’
As previously reported in The News, UTC Portsmouth gives students aged 14 to 18 the chance to gain qualifications fit for careers in electrical and mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing. Pupils would work around an 8.30am to 5pm daily timetable so they get familiar with a normal working day at the college, which will be funded by the Department for Education.
The £10m school is set to open in September next year for students living in the Portsmouth area as well as further afield to the New Forest, Winchester and Chichester. It will start taking applications for admission this September for Year 10 and Year 12 students.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘It is absolutely brilliant to see the ground breaking ceremony.
‘There have been several attempts to get a UTC up and running and now we have finally done it.
‘The reason so many businesses have been wanting to start a UTC is because it fills a gap that we currently have in the education provision in this city.’