Latest FE Jobs:
    Edge has been a supporter of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and the Baker Dearing Educational Trust (BDT) since 2008. I was delighted when the Government took a crucial step in supporting the concept earlier this month and announced thirteen more for development across the country. Five UTCs have already been approved – JCB in Staffordshire (operating), the Black Country (just opened), Aston in Birmingham (2012), Hackney (2012) and Greenwich (2013). This announcement increases the number of UTCs to eighteen. The Government has pledged to increase the number to 24.

    Here is the clearest possible evidence that people in all parts of education and all parts of the country understand the importance of preparing young people for the opportunities of the future.

    UTCs are a new concept in education. They are free standing colleges for 600 - 800 14 to 19 year old students, with a working day of 8:30am - 5:30pm. Technical and academic education is integrated and practical work is valued as highly as academic study. Each will provide at least one technical specialism alongside the key GCSEs in English, maths and science, as well as a foreign language, humanities, finance, business, entrepreneurial and employability skills.

    All UTCs are supported by a University and very often an FE college. This unique approach opens up to students a high quality pathway to success, which can lead to apprenticeships, foundation and higher degrees.

    Local employers both big and small have a major role. They help to shape the curriculum and relate it to future jobs that match the needs of the local economy. Students in turn acquire the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.

    My objective as CEO of Edge is to champion technical, practical and vocational learning – to show how it leads to inventive, rewarding careers. Practical and technical education deserves its place alongside the very best academic learning. UTCs represent a huge step in the right direction.

    University Technical Colleges announced:

    Application Name

    Specialism

    Proposed Opening Date*

    Burnley Visions Learning Trust UTC

    Engineering and Construction

    2012

    Daventry New Technologies UTC

    Sustainable and Related New Technologies

    2012

    Newcastle Discovery UTC

    Engineering, Information Technology & Science

    2012

    Southwark UTC

    Medical Engineering, Health Technologies

    Construction & Property Management

    2012

    Wigan UTC

    Engineering, Green Energy, Manufacturing

    2012

    Central Bedfordshire UTC

    Design, Engineering, Manufacturing

    2012

    North Liverpool Life Sciences UTC

    Life Sciences (health)

    2012

    Silverstone UTC

    Motor Engineering

    2013

    Bristol & South Gloucestershire UTC

    Engineering and Environmental Technology

    2013

    Buckinghamshire UTC

    IT and Specialist Construction

    2013

    Nottingham University Technical College

    Engineering, Science and IT

    2013

    Sheffield UTC

    Advanced Engineering & Materials and Creative & Digital Industries

    2013

    Plymouth University Technical College

    Marine Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing

    2014


    *Subject to feasibility stage

    Following Alison Wolf's report on vocational education earlier this year, Michael Gove is rightly committed to ensuring that young people aged 14 and upwards are offered only the best qualifications and pathways to success. The Department for Education recently invited views on qualifications for 14-16 year olds and how they should be counted in school performance tables.

    Technical and vocational qualifications will count in school performance tables only if they pass a number of rigorous tests. They must stretch and challenge young people, offer clear paths to further learning and careers, and be valued by employers.

    Edge and the Baker Dearing Educational Trust support these aims, which is why we commissioned the Royal Academy of Engineering to identify technical qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that would be respected by the STEM community. Our original aim was to help UTCs select the best qualifications. We now realise that the RAEng report will be of much wider value, not just in helping other schools to identify good quality STEM qualifications but also by providing a template for assessing the value of qualifications in other subjects.

    In the short term, we are likely to see a fall in the number of young people enrolled for vocational qualifications whilst still at school because young people will no longer be steered towards qualifications which do not lead to further learning or stable employment. In the medium term, however, numbers will rise once more as a direct result of the government's welcome commitment to quality and progression.

    The approach developed by RAEng could easily be adapted to provide a rigorous framework for appraising vocational qualifications in other subjects and disciplines – a point made by Edge and Baker Dearing in our submission to the Department for Education.

    The report is now published and is available on the Edge website. Click here for a copy of the report. 

    Jan Hodges is chief executive of Edge, the independent education foundationd edicated to raising the status of technical, practical and vocational learning

    Exclusive articles from Further Education sector specialists, our team of reporters give you the latest breaking news and updates on emerging education strategies. With our Press Release section you can view the latest Press Releases across FE, and see breaking news – even before it reaches a reporter's desk!

    FE News also ‘shoot’ video interviews and news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Further Education and Employability sectors.

    FE News RSS Feeds

     

    FE Careers Jobs RSS Feeds