A group of European educationalists looking to tackle early school leaving and the employability of youngsters have turned to Warrington’s University Technical College to replicate the model overseas.
The Erasmus+ programme is a 3 year project aimed at analysing and adapting the UTC model in the UK and bringing it to life in Italy, Germany and Spain. Partners from the Early School Workers project met at UTC Warrington in November 2018 and earlier this month to begin the collaborative partnership.
Luca Calligaro, one of the EU Project Managers, said that the UTC approach is capable of addressing challenges in young people leaving school early and strengthening workforce skills. He said: “In UTCs, knowledge and skills are acquired through the resolution of real problems or projects and/or creation of cultural and professional products. Their approaches deliver an innovative training concept, which is able to narrow the gap between knowledge and competences acquired at school and those required on the job.”
The success of UTC Warrington’s programme of employability, relationships with local and national STEM employers, and strength in securing top science and engineering apprenticeships for their students are some of the reasons why the model is being replicated in European countries.
Lee Barber, who has headed the UTC since it opened, said that it is no surprise that the success of the model is being tapped up abroad. He said: “UTCs offer a different approach to education than typical schools and colleges. We focus on bringing industry to life through the experiences of our teachers and with project based learning delivered by our employer partners. Our primary focus is on ensuring young people are work-ready and equipped with the right practical skills, technical knowledge and attitude that businesses are seeking. Our success in producing a quality pipeline of talent to the local and national industry is something that is being internationally recognised and the approach to education that UTCW delivers is now becoming a valuable export to the EU.”
The town centre college which opened in 2016 was awarded a Good rating by Ofsted earlier this year, with high praise for its employer-led engagement with students and the fresh perspective on education it provides for young people.
In the coming months, partners will work with UTC Warrington to study the curriculum and embed the college’s values and principles in vocational education to their own European country.