Offering 14 to 19 year old students technically oriented courses of study at specialist University Technical Colleges (UTC) poses a new hope for the UK economy, according to Lord Baker, chairman of the Edge Foundation.
Speaking to FE news at the Association for Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) annual conference, Lord Baker said: “These colleges are unique, they focus on bringing together practical and academic training.
“UTCs are a new type of institution for students aged 14 to 19, combining practical and academic study and specialising in technical studies. The areas of specialism are supported by close links with employers and the expertise of the university sponsor.”
Each college is sponsored by a university or an FE college, of which work with the local authority and employers to decide what it will specialise in. The specialism’s reflect the institution’s areas of excellence.
The specialist areas are mainly engineering and construction, along with humanities and foreign languages, such as German and French.
“Students attending UTC will develop their skills in industry standard facilities, taught by teachers with real life practical experience of the sector and most importantly students can study a subject they are really interested in” added Lord Baker.
It is believed that UTC will also improve job prospects offering students work placement opportunities.
Employers play a major part in these colleges, helping to plan what students are going to learn and ensure that the qualifications they gain are what is required for employment.
The government is committed to opening 12 UTCs by the end of 2012.