On Monday 11th July, we hosted a Parent Briefing session at The Centre, Birchwood Business Park for parents/carers of students who will be joining UTC Warrington from this September. Additional key notes to accompany this presentation are available for parents who were unable to attend on request.
The precast concrete cores and lift shafts have been fully completed with the top sections visible from Winwick Quay, Golden Square shopping centre and further afield. Continue Reading
The first of the two precast concrete stair and lift cores have now been completed and work is well under way on the second of the precast cast stair cores which will form the main stairway to the upper floors of the UTC building.
A large 200 Ton crane has been set up on site to lift the larger sections that form the second stair core. The next stage will see structural steel plates being welded to the pre-fitted components within the concrete sections, which create the final connection points for the eagerly awaited steel frame. This phase of work will be completed by the middle of next week enabling the structural steel frame to then be erected.
The erection of the stair and lift cores and the installation of the connecting precast concrete stairway has continued this week. The first of the two stair cores and lift shafts are up to the fifth floor and the capping slabs which will complete this section of work are on site and ready to be lifted into position on Monday following the delivery and set up of a larger crane 200Ton.
We received a visit this week from former Conservative Education Secretary and UTC champion Lord Baker as he attended the site of Warrington’s new University Technical College on Dallam Lane in Warrington town centre.
As co-founder and Chairman of the Baker Dearing Trust, (an educational trust that was set up in 2009 to promote the establishment of University Technical Colleges in England), the purpose of Lord Baker’s visit was two-fold; to see Warrington’s new cutting edge educational institution, that when it opens to students in September 2016 will specialise in engineering and energy, and secondly to meet and present to a number of the UTC’s employment partners and prospective students.
During his visit Lord Baker met with the UTC’s employment partners, including representatives from Sellafield Ltd, Manchester Metropolitan University, Atkins, Nuvia, Tenet Consultants, Warrington & Co, Flamefast, National Nuclear Laboratories, National Decommissioning Authority and ISG.
Lord Baker then took part in an open discussion with the employment partners about the benefits and opportunities that UTCs can provide to students in preparing them for the world of work and in working towards achieving productive careers. This was then followed by a meet and greet session with a small number of prospective students.
Of his meeting with Lord Baker, Year 9 student Christopher Hankey said “Lord Baker is really inspirational, he has worked with so many really important people throughout his career. He explained why it was a good choice to make, and how going to the UTC will be important for us later in life because of how the world around us and technology is advancing so quickly.”
Whilst Year 9 student Georgia Bowker said” Meeting Lord Baker was an amazing opportunity. It really gave me an insight into everything the UTC offers, it was also really interesting to hear about the successful previous UTC students”.
With the launch of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust Lord Baker pioneered the idea of “career colleges” that would provide technical education for 14 – 19 years, enabling them to access training and educational in a wide range of subjects including construction, healthcare, catering with many UTCs, such as Warrington, specialising in the “STEM” core subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
Construction of the new £10 million, 620-place UTCW began in July 2015 following the approval in March from parliamentary Under-Secretary, Lord Nash. Located in the heart of Warrington within the Stadium Quarter, UTCW will have excellent access to rail and bus networks. Completion of the build is scheduled for the summer of 2016.
UTCW is sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University and local employers. UTCW will specialise in energy and engineering and will offer an outstanding opportunity for the young people of Warrington and the wider region to work with major energy and engineering employers based in the town, including Sellafield Ltd, Amec Foster Wheeler, Tenet Consultants, Nuvia, Atkins, National Nuclear Laboratories and Flamefast.
The aim of UTCW is to integrate technical, practical and academic learning and create an environment where students can thrive and develop the abilities that industry needs. As international, national, regional and local employers, the industrial sponsors will play a major role, helping to shape the curriculum and relate it to future jobs that match the needs of the local economy. In turn, students will acquire the skills and knowledge that are in demand from employers along with having access to the latest equipment and technology used in industry.
Speaking about his visit to University Technical College Warrington Lord Baker said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to visit the UTC Warrington site. Next time I visit I am looking forward to seeing the completed facility and meeting the students. UTC’s prepare the students for work, teaching skills that mix the brain and the hand. Students leave work ready. Of the 1700 students in the UK who graduated this year 99 – 100% have now found employment”.
UTCs are a relatively new concept in education, offering a safe, high quality, technically-orientated curriculum for 14-19 year olds in an environment where young people are encouraged to follow their interests and to develop them into engineering-related skills and qualifications. At least 40% of the time spent by students at UTCW will be dedicated to the technical specialisms of energy and engineering including design and building, working in teams and problem solving.
Principal and Chief Executive of UTCW, Lee Barber said: “Today’s visit from Lord Baker to University Technical College Warrington has been invaluable as we have heard how UTC’s are already impacting the lives of young people across the country. As a champion of the UTC concept Lord Baker outlined the importance of learning skills in technical subjects to provide young people with a greater confidence in finding employment after education.”
UTCW will offer its students clear progression routes into higher education, apprenticeships or full time employment. By working closely with local employers UTCW will offer students, as part of their studies, regular opportunities to connect with local businesses through work experience, technical projects and masterclasses.
The UTC will be a key component in the regeneration and renaissance of Warrington’s town centre. The facility will be situated at the heart of Warrington’s ambitious Stadium Quarter regeneration project; a £190 million mixed use development comprising educational, office, leisure and residential uses.
The 150 tonne crane and the first of the precast concrete stair cores, stairs and lift shaft sections arrived on site early Monday morning as expected. However, the first of this seasons storms named ‘Abigail’ has delayed some of the lifts due to the wind speeds.
Wednesday and Thursday’s improved weather conditions allowed our lifting operations to commence and by Thursday afternoon 3 stair core sections, 2 shaft lift sections and 2 flights of concrete stairs had been erected.
The favourable weather conditions during week 10 have enabled the project to progress significantly. The shuttering to one of the main foundations which was poured last week has now been removed and a further 6 foundations with adjoining ground beams have been excavated, shuttered and reinforced with steel bar. This has meant that over 180 m3 of concrete have been poured over the last 5 days.
The retaining wall along Dallam Lane has also received waterproofing treatment and a worker’s site access tunnel has been erected in order to separate pedestrians and vehicles on site.
Construction of the sub-structure for the steel framed building is now well underway. Over 100 CFA piles have been bored and 12 pile caps are ready for the delivery and erection of the steel.
During week 9 the shuttering to the fairface concrete retaining wall along the east elevation has been struck and hardcore has been laid along the wall to create a lay by area for the articulated lorries. However, this week we have concentrated on the foundation reinforcement, placing of the formwork for the future prefabricated stair and lift core.
Industry specialists, local Councillors, representatives from university sponsor Manchester Metropolitan University and the team behind UTC Warrington came together to mark the official ground breaking at the site situated on Dallam Lane today. Of the official ground breaking, Principal & Chief Executive, Lee Barber said “I am pleased to see so much support for the college today as we mark the start of the construction on site. Over the next year we will be able to see our state-of-the-art, iconic college take shape. We will be working closely with main contractor ISG to ensure everything is fit for purpose.”
Danny Murray, ISG’s Northern regional managing director, commented: “Taking the first two phases of this major urban regeneration project in Warrington is a key achievement for the business. This ambitious redevelopment will deliver a positive and long-term legacy for Warrington, with exceptional new facilities attracting the very brightest young people, entrepreneurs and major employers to the area – delivering important benefits to both the local community and the wider economy.”
At the ground breaking Leader of Warrington Borough Council, Cllr Terry O’Neill said “This is an exciting moment for Warrington. The new UTC Warrington is critical to addressing our skills gap. It is essential that we skill our communities up for the jobs that we are creating in the town.
This will be a superb facility for the town and will equip our young people with the essential skills necessary to build careers in our growing energy and engineering sectors”.
Also in attendance Pete Waterman said “It is fantastic to see a dedicated energy and engineering college being built in Warrington. UTC Warrington will equip students in Warrington and beyond with the skills they need to succeed in a career in engineering. Perhaps some students will take up railway engineering as a specialism.
UTC Warrington is part of a movement across the UK towards specialist colleges which are designed to address skills gaps within local industry. The Warrington Skills Commission, conducted in 2012 identified a key skills gap within engineering in the borough, with a particular focus on supporting industry growth within energy and infrastructure sectors. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills were also identified as being vital areas of future growth and employment by the report.
With the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Engineering behind UTC Warrington students can look forward a STEM rich curriculum, with access to the best educational facilities in the North West. The college will house £1m of specialist equipment; additionally students will be able to access facilities at MMU locations across the region and industry specific equipment at employer partner sites such as Sellafield, Amec Foster Wheeler, Tenet Consultants.
Of the partnership, Professor Philip Wheater, Dean of Faculty and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University said “At Manchester Metropolitan University, we are very pleased to be a part of the University Technical College, Warrington. Our world-class engineering research and teaching complements our partner employers’ expertise to provide first class opportunities for 14-19 year old students.”
The college will be under construction for the next 12 months, before opening its doors to Year 10 and 12 students from across the region to study GCSEs, A Levels and vocational qualifications from September 2016. Conveniently located within the Stadium Quarter on Dallam Lane, in the town centre, students will easily be able to access the college via public transport links from in and around Warrington.
During the next six months prospective students will be invited along to a series of events hosted by the team at UTC Warrington to find out more about the curriculum on offer to 14 – 19 year olds from across the region, as well as hearing from employer partners and industry specialists about the types of projects they could look forward to working on as students at the college.
Prospective students and their families are invited to come along to find out more about UTC Warrington at the Launch Event which will be held on Thursday 17th September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Pyramid & Parr Hall. Interested parties can register for the event and find out further information by visiting www.utcwlaunchevent.eventbrite.co.uk.