IT AIMS to transform education in the Portsmouth region and leave a lasting legacy.
And today The News reveals the details behind bold plans to build the city’s first University Technical College, which seeks to fast-track hundreds of youngsters into promising jobs at major engineering firms.
The £11m development at the site of Trafalgar School in Hilsea would see teenagers from 14 to 18 gain qualifications fit for careers in electrical and mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.
The curriculum is now being drawn up with companies which will provide work placements and mentor students so they get the right skills for work.
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.
And two employers on the consortium supporting the scheme have spoken of their pride – with Sir Ben Ainslie’s sailing enterprise saying its America’s Cup challenge has created an ‘exciting opportunity’ for more teenagers to pursue science and technology-based subjects.
We hope there will be a lasting legacy created, as young people coming through the education system with UTC Portsmouth would be able to go into the world of work and make a difference, whether that be in the region or further afield.UTC Portsmouth project leader, Captain Andy Cree
A Land Rover BAR spokesperson said: ‘Land Rover BAR’s challenge to win the America’s Cup has created an extraordinary opportunity to inspire the next generation into the Stem subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.
‘The team want to maximise this opportunity and are committed to supporting UTC Portsmouth in its goal to deliver a high quality vocational and academic education in electrical and mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.
‘We very much hope that graduates from these courses will soon be joining our ranks here at Land Rover BAR.’
The Royal Navy is also backing the UTC bid.
UTC project leader, Captain Andy Cree, based at HMS Nelson, said: ‘We hope there will be a lasting legacy created, as young people coming through the education system with UTC Portsmouth would be able to go into the world of work and make a difference, whether that be in the region or further afield.
‘The UTC would be part of a educational system contributing to the region’s growth and prosperity.
‘The navy wants to contribute to the region’s success and grow the talented scientists, engineers and technicians of the future.
‘It’s about collaborating with the schools and colleges in the area to develop young people, rather than about competing on an educational establishment basis.’
Should planning permission be granted by the council, building work will begin in June.
The application process for the first wave of students would open in September before the start of teaching in September 2017.
Amanda Nelson, human resources director at BAE Systems Maritime Services, said: ‘BAE is delighted to be part of the consortium developing UTC Portsmouth and helping to shape the future skills requirements for the benefit of the city and the wider area.
‘BAE recognises that as a major employer within the Portsmouth region, the importance of supporting such an exciting project.’
Plans are under way to recruit a principal for the UTC.
The catchment area would stretch from Portsmouth to the New Forest, up to Winchester and across to Chichester.
Up to 175 students would be taken initially and capacity would rise to 600.
WHAT IS A UTC?
A University Technical College offers employer-linked projects and vocational training alongside traditional academic subjects to train youngsters for work.
Activities including AutoCad and Microsoft Office, leadership training, RYA Sailing, Young Engineer Challenges and Combined Cadet Forces, help allow students to become ‘work ready’. More than 39 UTCs have opened and another 55 are set to be open by 2017.
The nearest to the area are Salisbury and Newhaven.
The groups backing UTC Portsmouth are; the University of Portsmouth, Airbus Defence and Space, BAE Systems, Carnival UK, DSTL, Land Rover BAR, NATS, Portsmouth City Council, QinetiQ, the Royal Navy, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and Young Engineers.