Category

News

My experience of the UTC – a parent governor perspective with Jackie

Jackie is parent of Year 13 student Amber, who decided to move to UTC Warrington four years ago to pursue her ambition of becoming an Architect. Jackie describes her experience as a parent and parent governor so far.

Why did you choose to become a governor at the UTC?

I became a governor at the UTC because I felt I had a lot to offer to school. Having previously been a governor at a primary school and currently working with apprentices, young people and funded training in my current role, I felt I had the right qualities to offer the school.

As well as this, I felt I could offer different views to other governors and challenge the school from a different perspective.

Do you find the UTC supportive?

Ever since Amber joined the UTC, I’ve found it to be very supportive and informative – but over this past year with COVID they have gone above and beyond! We received a lot of communication from the school via the parent mail portal and, to make sure we get the information, they also email it to us.

If I’ve ever had any issues or queries, then I’ve been able to email the teachers directly and I’ve always had a response or a call back quickly. Over the last few months, we’ve has clear communication about lesson plans and how they are structured, and what work Amber needs to do each week.

How have you found the UTC’s online learning offer?

I think the UTC were ahead of the game with online learning, as when Amber joined she was instantly given a Microsoft Teams account, which is the platform they use for online lessons.

UTCs are all about technology so I think it came as second nature to the staff and students.

One thing that I’ve found really good is how the teachers not only deliver a great online lesson, but they engage in the pastoral side of things, checking to see how everyone is feeling and if they are coping okay with learning at home.

How do you think the UTC has helped and made a difference to your daughter?

The UTC has definitely helped Amber get on the right track towards a career that she’s always wanted in Architecture. At her previous school, Amber was in the top sets but felt as if she wasn’t being challenged and didn’t enjoy it very much, so she made the decision herself to move to the UTC. She wanted to move to the UTC as she could study Engineering, Maths and Science – which would help her achieve her future ambition.

Being able to do the subjects she’s interested in has really brought Amber out of her shell, which has been fantastic to see. She’s also had 100% attendance across the four years she’s been at the UTC which shows how much she enjoys going.

Amber was also offered an opportunity at the end of Year 10 which has helped her recently when filling in her UCAS applications for five redbrick universities to study architecture.

She was invited to attend an interview for the Place Academy which is based at the Royal Institute for British Architects in Liverpool. She attended this and was accepted onto a year-long placement. She committed to attending this placement in her own time, going to various sites around Liverpool and pulling a portfolio of work together.

The UTC is always looking for placements and opportunities for the students to support them in their next step, and the placement Amber had has definitely helped her pull together a really strong personal statement.

Amber has her eyes set on going to university, however the UTC has informed her of other possibilities and other pathways which has led Amber to also apply for some degree apprenticeship schemes.

Why do you think we need UTCs?

We need UTCs because not everybody learns in the same way and mainstream schools teaching traditional subjects doesn’t suit everyone.

The UTC offers a different way of learning which still includes the fundamental subjects, but also includes the specialisms which enables students to learn more practically.

I also think the UTC prepares students for life, it’s not just about what they achieve in school but about giving them the skills to take with them beyond school, such as interview skills and work experience opportunities.

What would you say to any parent who is hesitant to move their child from their current school?

If your child is interested in the UTC and the specialisms that they offer, I would say support their journey as they will succeed.

It’s one of the best decisions that Amber has made. Four years after joining she has achieved everything that she’s wanted to.

UTC Warrington to educate and train the healthcare professionals of the future

Warrington teenagers inspired by healthcare professionals working on the frontline in the global coronavirus pandemic are being offered a new careers pathway.

UTC Warrington is launching a new technical specialism in healthcare, backed by employers, to educate and train the health and social care workers of the future.

Amanda Downing, Associate Principal, UTC Warrington, said: “Our new healthcare specialism is an important addition to our curriculum offer given the national surge of interest from young people in health and social care careers since the start of the pandemic, as well as the urgent need for new talent in the sector.”

She added: “As a UTC, we train young people in the scientific and technical skills which are increasingly in demand in these roles, alongside essential people skills such as empathy, communication and teamwork.”

From September 2021, students in Year 10 and Year 11 will be able to study a BTEC in Health and Social Care alongside their GCSEs.

In sixth form, students will be able to choose from a vocational route with a BTEC Extended Diploma Level 3 in Health and Social Care, equivalent to three A levels. Or students can study a combined route completing a BTEC Diploma alongside A Levels.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of the employers working with UTC Warrington on the new healthcare specialism.

Sarah Power, Talent for Care Programme Facilitator, Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As an organisation, we are really keen to work with the UTC to offer students some insight into our services and how they operate and to hopefully inspire them to consider a career in the NHS. Our staff are passionate about the work that they do and keen to share that enthusiasm with local young people.”

She added: “We are continually expanding the work we do in our local community and hope to create a unique link with UTC Warrington that will ideally see some of the students undertaking these new health and social care pathways to form part of our future workforce.”

Alongside their studies, students will work with local health and social care employers through site visits, work placements and practical masterclasses.

Students will complete real-life challenges, set by employers to build their industry knowledge and skills, and progress to health and social care related degree courses and high quality apprenticeships after successfully completing their studies at the UTC.

UTC Warrington is a technical school for 14 to 19-year-olds, backed by employers and Manchester Metropolitan University, that is Ofsted graded ‘good’.

The £10 million facility is equipped with industry leading facilities and specialises in engineering, digital, construction and healthcare. Students complete technical qualifications alongside GCSEs and A Levels, and work on employer projects, giving them a head start on their career ambitions.

Avanti West Coast helps pilot virtual work experience for young people in Warrington

Avanti West Coast employees have given young people a unique insight into their roles as part of a pilot virtual work experience programme by Network Rail.

Using a specially created video, the Station Manager and Customer Service Assistants based at Warrington Bank Quay talked to students from UTC Warrington about the different jobs available at Avanti West Coast, for the trial of Network Rail’s work experience initiative ‘Ready 4 Rail’.

Developed by Network Rail, the virtual programme is designed to provide a viable alternative to traditional work experience, which has been cancelled due to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as preparing young people for future career and academic choices.

Bringing together different organisations, the scheme aims to showcase opportunities across the rail industry virtually – through videos, presentations, and engagement activities with video conferencing.

Avanti West Coast, which connects Warrington to Scotland and London with its services, was invited to give students an understanding into the role of a train operator with a dedicated session.

During the forum, the inter-city operator shared stories from its staff about how they came to work in the rail industry – from deciding on a career change, to a new-found interest following work experience – and how they engage with local communities and strive to deliver the best possible customer experience.

Amanda Downing, Associate Principal of UTC Warrington, said: “Connecting our students with engineering, digital, construction and healthcare employers, so they are on the right track for exciting, future careers opportunities, is at the heart of everything we do. I’d like to thank Avanti West Coast for their support.”

The team at Warrington Bank Quay were joined by colleagues from office-based roles, who gave a glimpse into their work across the route and involvement with the station.

Following the video, students had the opportunity to put forward questions to Avanti West Coast representatives as part of a Q&A session.

Gareth Williams, Head of Sustainability at Avanti West Coast, said: “We want to connect young people to opportunity, so we’re proud to have played our part in Network Rail’s trial of its Ready 4 Rail programme – ensuring young people don’t miss out on gaining an insight into the opportunities available within the industry. It has been great to showcase what Avanti West Coast is about and we hope our session will help to attract new and emerging talent in the communities we serve.”

Lee Braham, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Warrington Bank Quay, said: “Helping others is a rewarding experience and by supporting this programme we hope to make a difference in our local community and inspire the next generation of potential railway workers. I hope our short video will go a long way in helping students who want to know more about starting a career on the railway.”

James Richards, Engineering Capability Manager at Network Rail, said: “We know how important work experience is to help prepare students for the career and academic choices, which is why we’ve worked with industry partners to develop a virtual approach to work experience with our ‘Ready 4 Rail’ programme. Trialling this new approach has enabled us to bring to life the wider opportunities in the rail industry – highlighting the many partners involved in the railway and the vital work they deliver. I hope that Ready 4 Rail will have inspired the students to explore the industry as a potential employer and that they had fun, developed their skills and feel well-equipped to make choices for their future.”

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Meet Chris Gee- Associate Assistant Vice Principal/Head of Commerce

How long have you been at the UTC for?
I’ve been at the UTC for over three years now, and I’ve loved my experience of teaching here. No day is the same here, which makes it incredibly interesting.

How did you get into teaching?
Previously, I worked in Investment Banking for a few years, which provided me with some valuable knowledge; however, I felt like I was ready for a change. I was interested in a career that was more interactive and varied, and teaching felt like the right next step for me. I love working with people and wanted to make a difference to the students’ lives. Since 2010, I’ve worked as a teacher, learning all about the education sector and developing my knowledge in my subjects.

Why did you decide to start teaching at a UTC?
I saw how UTCs stood out compared to other schools, as they offered a range of exciting technical specialisms, alongside GCSEs and A Levels. I was interested in exploring a new subject and preparing students for their future careers. Teaching at a UTC seemed like it would be a great opportunity to work alongside others who are passionate in their fields.

What do you think are the strengths of a UTC?
UTCs have strong relationships with employer partners, which benefits students, as they get an insight into the real world of work. They also provide students with excellent technical qualifications, valuable knowledge, and transferable skills for industry. Another strength of UTCs are that they are typically smaller, so everyone knows each other, which is a friendly environment to be in. There’s access to industry-standard equipment that helps with projects, and it feels like a real business environment.

What is the most enjoyable thing about teaching your subject?
Computer Science and IT are quite challenging subjects, so it’s really rewarding to see students achieve and accomplish a project or task that they found difficult. My subjects encourage students to think outside the box, so I enjoy pushing them to reach their potential. It’s interesting experiencing how each individual tackles a problem, and I like seeing a range of different ideas and solutions that my students come up with.

What kind of projects do the students work on in your subject?
Our sixth form students have been set a project by Fujitsu called Operation Innovation, where they have to work in teams to invent the next solution for Education or Healthcare. My teams came up with new products, including an automatic hand sanitiser and a new mobile phone app. Our projects encourage students to come up with ideas for real problems in the world, which helps to prepare them for their future careers. Fujitsu have been incredible to work with in our Cyber Science specialism, as they help students to understand what to expect when working in industry.

What skills do students develop from studying this specialism?
Students gain problem-solving skills, resilience, independence, and team-work skills. They have learnt how to stay self-motivated when working on their projects, particularly during this challenging period, which is a really important skill to have.

 

 

What has been your highlight of working here?

My highlight was my second year of working here, when we rolled out a new PSHE Programme, which was based around the motto ‘Excellence and Kindness’. This helped us to develop the culture here at the UTC, to make it a positive environment to be in, and it’s an ongoing goal. This has been mentioned in our previous Ofsted reports, which is an excellent achievement for us.

What are your goals for the department?

I aim to provide innovative and exciting lessons and a good quality education for my students, so they feel prepared to enter the next chapter of their life, after finishing at the UTC.

 

NMCN Host 12 Week Virtual Work Experience Project for students at UTC Warrington

Colleagues from our Warrington office are working hard to facilitate virtual work experience for a selection of year 12 and 13 students at UTC Warrington, who are working towards a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. 

As part of our Positive Impact Plan, our mission is to invest in the communities in which we work and live. We want to create a lasting legacy and inspire those who are considering their futures to become an integral part of the construction industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to adapt the way in which we engage with educational institutions. Currently we are working hard to adapt to a more virtual way of working, to minimise the impact on young people’s learning.

Our team has presented a thorough brief, and have tasked students with designing a new dry/wet well wastewater pumping station.

The module will take 12 weeks to complete, requires circa 60 hours of work experience to complete and is set to finish at the end of the year.

The course has so far proved highly successful, and has been accepted by BTEC as a method of completing a mandatory unit of work experience, meaning that the course could be made available to students from across the country, facilitated by colleagues from across the wider business.

The module requires an understanding of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Process, and utilises various software including AutoCAD and NavisWorks Simulate.

Debbie Owen, Faculty Leader of Engineering at UTC Warrington and BTEC Quality Nominee, said: “nmcn have provided our learners with a fantastic opportunity to develop virtual work experience. We are delighted to be part of a scheme that offers a unique, personal and hands-on experience, allowing the students to build lasting key skills.

“The nmcn team are hosting weekly meetings, allowing the students to ask questions and learn from their varied electrical, civil, mechanical and design engineering experience. We look forward to seeing their final designs.”

Jamie Caswell, UTC Warrington student, said: “Whilst taking part in the work experience over the last few weeks, I have improved my business and teamwork skills by talking to experienced Engineers. The module has challenged our perseverance, timekeeping and teamwork, which are all key attributes to take into our future careers.

“During the last few months, it has been difficult to learn and focus on new and interesting work, however, by working with nmcn, we have had a real chance during the lockdown period to continue to gain valuable experience and learn from industry professionals.”

Paul Foden, Contracts Engineer said: “At nmcn, we are committed to delivering exceptional learning opportunities for the next generation, and raising awareness of the diverse STEM-related career opportunities available.

“The process of building a virtual work experience has been a great opportunity to develop our existing relationship with UTC Warrington, and it’s been a pleasure working with Debbie Owen and Engineering Teacher, Nichola Graham.

“It has truly been a team effort, and together, we’ve been able to provide a course that tests the students’ independent learning skills in a creative and supportive learning environment. We are passionate about mentoring and encouraging students to perform to the peak of their abilities, and we are excited about what the outcomes can mean for future collaborations.”

If you would be interested in conducting virtual work experience with nmcn, please contact info@nmcn.com.

Young people are invited to UTC Warrington’s virtual open events

UTC Warrington is running a series of virtual open events this month for young people interested in careers in engineering, digital, construction and healthcare.

A technical school for 14 to 19-year-olds, the UTC is backed by employers and Manchester Metropolitan University and is Ofsted graded ‘good’.

Based on Dallam Lane, the £10 million UTC has industry leading facilities and specialises in engineering, digital, construction and healthcare.

Students work on employer led projects, and complete technical qualifications alongside GCSEs and A Levels, giving them a head start on their career ambitions.

Amanda Downing, Associate Principal of UTC Warrington, said: “We are proud to work with the region’s top employers to offer the highly sought-after technical skills they need and that provide our students with great career prospects.”

Young people, and their parents and carers, can find out more about Year 10 and Year 12 places for September 2021 by attending four virtual open events on:

  • Monday, November 16th from 5.30pm to 6.30pm for engineering.
  • Tuesday, November 17th at 5.30pm to 6.30pm for construction.
  • Wednesday, November 18th at 5.30pm to 6.30pm for digital.
  • Thursday, November 19th at 5.30pm to 6.30pm for healthcare.

Guests will hear from curriculum staff, students, alumni and employers. To book your place, please visit https://utcw.co.uk/events/.

The UTC’s Class of 2020 have progressed onto a range of positive destinations including university, apprenticeships and employment including BMW, Boeing, Cavendish Nuclear, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Bangor, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Exeter and the University of Salford.

Alumnus Adam Bellis has gone onto the University of Salford to study a Degree in Cyber Security after achieving strong technical results this summer.

Adam said: “I moved to the UTC because it was a better environment for me to learn in. There were smaller class sizes and more specialised learning.”

He added: “The UTC has prepared me well for university with the different styles of learning – both practical and written – and I’ve been able to develop key skills such as problem solving, which is a big part of my degree.”

To anyone else thinking of studying at UTC Warrington, Adam said: “I think the UTC is really good. If you want to learn and push yourself, then you should go.”

UTCs are government funded technical schools that provide technical learning opportunities in partnership with employers and universities.

Young people can join UTC Warrington in Year 10 or Year 12. Apply now for September 2021. Visit https://utcw.co.uk/ or call 01925 737067.

UTC Warrington scoops award for Best Engineering and Technology Educational Institution

UTC Warrington – which is Ofsted graded ‘good’ – is a technical academy for 14 to 19-year-olds specialising in engineering, digital and construction, with healthcare starting in September 2021. Now the UTC has won an award for being the Best Engineering and Technology Educational Institution in the North West of England.

Corporate Vision Magazine recognises organisations for excelling within their field and publishes monthly on their digital platform, delivering features within the business and education sectors.

The Magazine recently hosted the Education and Training Awards 2020; prestigious awards open to education organisations, schools and training centres. Winners were awarded on merit, by a panel of five individuals who conducted research into each entry.

UTC Warrington was shortlisted for the Best Engineering & Technology Educational Institution – North West England, and successfully went on to win the Award. The UTC was nominated for their high standard of teaching, STEM subjects and specialist facilities.

Associate Principal, Amanda Downing, said, “We are delighted to have won this recognition. UTC Warrington offers a unique opportunity for students aged 14-19 to combine technical and academic education working with employers in state-of-the-art facilities. This Award reflects the hard work of our staff and students to make the UTC exceptional.”

For more information on UTC Warrington, download the latest copies of the prospectus for entry in Year 10 and Year 12 and visit our website to register for one of our virtual open events:

https://utcw.co.uk/events/

Class of 2020 – Adam Bellis is progressing to University of Salford to study Cyber Security

18-year-old Adam Bellis is celebrating achieving a place at University of Salford to study a degree in Cyber Security after his great BTEC results.

Adam achieved Distinction, Merit, Merit in BTEC Applied Science. He said: “I feel really relieved about my results because I got what I needed to get into my top choice and I’m really happy.”

As well as his interest in Computing, Adam also played badminton alongside his studies at the UTC. Talking of the UTC he said: “I moved to the UTC because it was a better environment for me to learn in. There were smaller class sizes and more specialised learning.”

He is looking forward to starting at University of Salford in September: “I’m really excited to go to university and to start my course. The UTC has prepared me well for it with the different styles of learning – both practical and written – and I’ve been able to develop key skills such as practising problem solving which is a big part of my degree.”

To anyone else thinking of studying at the UTC, Adam said: “I think the UTC is really good. If you want to learn and push yourself then you should go.”

Class of 2020 – Nikola Nakrewicz is looking forward to continuing her studies at the UTC in September

Nikola Nakrewicz is looking forward to continuing her studies at the UTC in September after achieving an 8 in Art, a 7 in Maths and Merit in Engineering Design and Manufacture.

Talking about her results, she said: “I’m really pleased with my results. I moved to he UTC in Year 9 and it was the best choice I’ve made. I liked the smaller classroom sizes and the subject choices because I thought it was an appropriate place to study for the career I want to go into.

In the future, Nikola would like to be a nurse: “I want to be a nurse, and the science teachers at the UTC have really helped me and given me support and extra help when needed. My previous school didn’t offer the specialisms so I decided to move.”

Nikola thinks going to the UTC has improved her grades. She said: “I’m really pleased with the results I’ve got today. The teachers are really good and they’ve pushed me further than I thought was possible. I think if I went to a more conventional school I would have got a lower grade and I wouldn’t have improved as much.”

Nikola found the staff at the UTC really helpful: “I really loved the staff. If you ever needed support with anything you could talk to them. The smaller class sizes allowed you to get a more personalised education and we were able to use state-of the art equipment which I wouldn’t have had access to at my old school.

“We got to use lathes, welders, and cast molten metal. These opportunities I wouldn’t have got outside the UTC.”

The trips were something Nikola enjoyed too. She said: “I liked doing all the extracurricular parts of the UTC too. We got to go on lots of trips to see universities, employer partners and career fayres.

“We worked with Land Rover, testing fair ground toys in one of our projects which was really exciting. You don’t get opportunities like that at your typical school.”

Nikola is excited to start sixth form at the UTC in September: “I’m staying at the UTC to study applied science and Art. After sixth form I’d like to get an apprenticeship in the NHS to do either Nursing or Midwifery. I’m really excited to go back to the UTC in September. I’m looking forward to be doing tasks and having support with all my work and getting better and being the best I can.”

To anyone thinking of joining the UTC, Nikola said: “If you’re thinking of joining the UTC in Year 9 you should go for it. Everyone is lovely and it’s given me a whole range of different experiences. My old school told me not to move, but I decided to move and I am so glad because it is a much better choice for me.”

Class of 2020 – Callum Prescott is excited to continue studying at the UTC

16-year-old Callum joined the UTC in Year 9 to study his GCSEs in Triple Science, Maths, Business Studies and IT. He is looking forward to new opportunities continuing studying at the UTC in sixth form in September.

He said: “I moved to the UTC for more career opportunities. It also focussed more on subjects I was interested in, so I could do better in those.”

Callum is really pleased with his results. He said: “I got a 5 in Maths, a Merit in Business and 5 in Sciences.” He is awaiting his IT grade.

He said: “I enjoyed that the school offered more subjects to what I’d been able to do at an average school. I really liked being able to specialise in IT. My favourite project was coding Lego robot cars out of robo-technics.”

Callum enjoyed work experience whilst at the UTC: “I did work experience whilst at the UTC with Cavendish Nuclear. We did team building and worked on a presentation about the company in groups.”

Talking about the skills he’s developed, Callum said: “I’ve developed in confidence at the UTC. We’ve worked a lot on speaking at interviews and with people higher up, and we’ve done lots of career prep too. I think I’m more resilient too, having worked on lots of different projects at the UTC.”

Callum has chosen to stay at the UTC for sixth form. He said: “I’m staying at the UTC to study A Level Maths and specialise in Cyber. I’m happy to be staying on and looking forward to studying Cyber most. The UTC work with Fujitsu and I’m excited to be able to work on projects like that with employers. That’s one of the main reasons why I stayed at the UTC.”

The UTC has prepared Callum well for his future: “It’s developed my confidence but also allowed me to experience the workplace and how that works. The UTC has an adult atmosphere too, and you can wear business dress.

“In the future I’d either like to go into an apprenticeship In cyber security or possibly university.”

To anyone thinking of joining the UTC, Callum would say: “To someone thinking of joining the UTC in Y9 I’d say it’s a good option. It was scary at first but it has opened up so many opportunities. You are all in the same position and you get to meet lots of new people and it’s really worth it. It paid off for me.”

We are still accepting Year 12 applications! Click here to apply.

     
UTC Warrington is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

For more information please see the safeguarding section of our website.