OPENING a technical college in Portsmouth is hugely important for the nation, says the Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord.
Plans are in place for a University Technical College to be built on the site of Trafalgar School in Hilsea.
It’s really exciting for Portsmouth. Portsmouth should be very proud of its achievements to get thisVice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock
It will educate 600 pupils aged between 14 and 19, specialising in engineering and mechanics.
Vice-Admiral Jonathan Woodcock is backing the project.
He said: ‘I’m hugely excited. I’m absolutely supportive. It’s been our drive and determination to get it there.
‘We are behind the UTC movement as a whole.
‘The UTC in Portsmouth is important to us because it aligns with the naval base, which will have the two largest warships we have ever built.
‘That will be the backdrop for learning for students, so it’s an exciting place to do it.’
Vice-Admiral Woodcock said studying at a UTC would be hugely beneficial for young people.
‘It’s a real topic delivered with real hi-tech company support and with opportunities that don’t exist anywhere else,’ he said.
‘There is a national skills shortage that we have to deal with.
‘For those who like the idea of what we want to do and to be in the naval service, it’s very exciting for us because they will already have some of the skills we need.
‘I need engineers at sea to make ships go to sea.
‘There is nowhere else in the UK with the technical facilities we are providing.
‘We wish to support a generation of technically competent young people to develop a workforce for the UK which is strong.
‘It’s hugely important for the nation.
‘We need technically skilled people coming out of the education system. To do that, UTCs are absolutely key.
‘It’s exciting for Portsmouth. Portsmouth should be very proud of its achievements to get this.’
The project is also being supported by the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council.
The college is due to open in September 2017. Open events are taking place across the area. The first takes place today at Trafalgar School from 6.30pm until 8.30pm.
To find out more, visit utcportsmouth.org.