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Engineer your Future Taster Event – October 2015

Following on from the recent success of the University Technical College (UTC) Warrington Launch Event in September, the October Taster Event held at The Centre on Birchwood Business Park on Thursday 22nd October once again proved extremely popular with both parents and students.

L J Create   Sellafield Ltd

Parents were given an update on the latest project developments by Principal & Chief Executive, Lee Barber alongside an employer’s perspective on the college from Operations Director at Tenet Consultants and Project Steering Group Chair, Aidan McManus. Meanwhile prospective students took part in workshops arranged by staff from several of the college’s employer partners, including: Amec Foster Wheeler, Atkins, L J Create, Manchester Metropolitan University and Sellafield Ltd.

Atkins Sellafield Ltd 2

Students were split into groups, with each group working on a different project with their employer partner. Prospective Year 12 students working with John McCann, Principal Lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University, School of Engineering were given an insight into how engineering has a key part to play within sport followed by a group electronics task.

Meanwhile, prospective Year 10 students working with Rob Rowland and Mike Roberts from Atkins Nuclear where set a number of challenges to solve during their workshop session. One of which required the students to work together and guide each other on a project which simulated moving a nuclear rod from one area to another. The task relied heavily on communication skills as the operator was blind folded and had to listen to their team members to make it safely across without dropping their ‘nuclear rod’.

Of the workshop, 13 year old Sam from Westbrook said “Working with Atkins Nuclear at the UTC Taster Event was really fun. I enjoyed working on the different tasks we were set, especially when we were blindfolded and moved nuclear rods from one box to the other.”

Atkins 2

Other workshops included Sellafield Ltd’s session on creating a structure that could withstand an earthquake using ‘Shake Tables’ created by some of their current apprenticeship students; a virtual world exercise with L J Create, which challenged students to make their island run on green energy, with the most cost effective solution and a nuclear power station task hosted by Amec Foster Wheeler.

Employers were asked to select one participant from their workshop group to win a prize for their contributions during the workshop session. Iain and Tim working with the L J Create team couldn’t separate students Cerys and Brandon in their group and decided that they would award the prize based on who gave the best presentation at the end. But both Cerys and Brandon did a fantastic job and as a result were both awarded a prize on the night along with winners from all of the workshops.

All of the groups presented back to the audience on what they had done in each of their workshops, with some students taking the lead for their whole group and others sharing the presentation between them. Many parents commented afterwards how impressed they were that their son/daughter had stood up and presented to such a large audience. Parent, Sarah-Jane Cleverly said “I couldn’t believe it when Jamie stood up at the front of the auditorium, let alone explained what he had been doing. I felt extremely proud of him and his team.”

The team to win the overall prize of best workshop was headed up by John Royle and his team of apprentices from Amec Foster Wheeler. Students studied a schematic diagram of a nuclear power station, before having to work together to bring to life a presentation on how a nuclear power station works. The interactive demonstration encouraged all of the students in the group to work together. Each student in the group won a UTC Warrington goody bag to take home.

Winners   Amec Foster Wheeler

If you are interested in finding out more about applying to become a UTC Warrington student then why not come along to our next event on Thursday 19th November, 5.30pm – 8.00pm, at The Pyramid, Warrington. You can find out more information and register for your workshop place at

Alternatively visit for further details about the University Technical College.

Applications are welcome until 29th February 2016, however all applications received before the 30th November will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad.

You can apply online here or click here to download a copy of the application form.



Parents who have children studying at UTCs feel more positive about their child’s prospects


New research released by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust shows that for two thirds (66%) of parents their biggest fear is that their child will not find a job when they leave education. Nearly half (48.1%) of parents said they felt stressed about their child’s education and 80% of parents believed the education system needed to change to reflect
21st century working Britain.

Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity that promotes University Technical Colleges (UTCs), surveyed over 1000 parents with teenagers at mainstream schools and, in a separate survey, 450 parents whose children attend UTCs.

The research reveals that parents who have children studying at UTCs feel more positive about their children’s prospects. Three quarters (70%) said the UTC has made their child more confident in getting a job and 85% of parents believed the UTC was preparing their child for the world of work. This figure dropped to just 68% when the same question was asked of parents with children at mainstream schools.

Nearly two thirds (64%) of mainstream school parents said they wanted a greater variety of choice in the type of school for their child and 69% said they wanted the option to select a technical education if it reflected their child’s talents.

But parents are confused about the options available to children. Although more than half (55.30%) of parents with children in mainstream schools felt well informed about academies, only 2 in 5 parents (41%) felt informed about University Technical Colleges. However, when UTCs were explained to them 86% of parents said they might consider a UTC for their child if there was one available in their area.

Lord Baker, Chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity behind UTCs, said:

“These findings highlight the importance parents place on their children’s education and whether it gives them the qualifications and experience they need to secure a job. Although it’s early days, UTCs are playing an important role to ensure children get the education they need for the 21st century workplace. This is valued a great deal by parents and I’m delighted that so many would consider a UTC education for their children.”

A fantastic turnout for the ‘Launch Event’

UTC Warrington

Applications to study at the first University Technical College in Warrington are coming in fast following a huge turnout and a great atmosphere at the official ‘Launch Event’ for University Technical College Warrington on Thursday 17th September.

Specialising in energy and engineering, University Technical College (UTC) Warrington will open in September 2016 as part of the new Stadium Quarter development in Warrington town centre. The £10 million project will be conveniently located just yards away from Warrington Central train station and Warrington Bus Interchange making it easily accessible to students from across the North West. Further information on the curriculum, specialisms and how to apply can be found at

The ‘Launch Event’, held at The Pyramid in Warrington town centre proved so popular prospective students and their families were queuing out of the doors as they waiting for the event to start.

The evening comprised of presentations from newly appointed Principal & Chief Executive – Lee Barber on the curriculum, facilities, culture and opportunities available to prospective students who opt to become students at UTC Warrington.  Meanwhile, more than 15 employer partners of the college were on hand to discuss they types of opportunities available within their businesses for UTC Warrington students and explain how they intend to work with students on technical projects, workshops and masterclasses to help relate what students study in the classroom back to real life experiences.

Employer partners demonstrated some of the technology and equipment that will be made available to students who join including augmented reality, 3D printing, robotics, AutoCAD and a virtual welding machine. Students really enjoyed getting hands on and talking to current apprentices. Meanwhile, parents had the opportunity to speak to key team members from employer partners to gain a real insight into why there is a need for so many more engineers in the UK and how their businesses intend to use the opportunity to work with UTC Warrington as a means of identifying their employees of the future.

At the event Principal & Chief Executive, Lee Barber said: “I am overwhelmed by the turnout and enthusiasm for UTC Warrington by students, parents and employers alike. Not only do employers have a need for a more highly skilled workforce, but aspirant young people are looking for alternative routes into a career in Engineering or access to Engineering degrees at University. We are pleased to be able to bring together these groups and provide unrivalled facilities and a bespoke curriculum to ensure our students gain the very best, forward thinking education”.

The college will deliver exciting and engaging qualifications to 14-19 year olds, alongside employer partners such as Sellafield Ltd, Amec Foster Wheeler, Rolls-Royce, National Nuclear Laboratories, Atkins, Fircroft Engineering, Kawasaki Robotics and Jungheinrich. Alongside university partner Manchester Metropolitan University.

Commenting on the partnership between Manchester Metropolitan University and UTC Warrington, Professor Philip Wheater, Dean of Faculty and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University, said:

“We are very pleased to be part of UTC 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 training and education at UTC Warrington will equip students with the crucial skills needed to tackle the industrial challenges of tomorrow”.

Applications to be part of the September 2016 intake must be made by 29th February 2016. However, students who apply before the 30th November will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad. There are a limited number of places available for 2016, 100 places for Year 10 students, and 120 places for Year 12 students. Young people currently in Year 9 or Year 11 from across Warrington and surrounding areas can apply for a place to start in September 2016.

The next UTC Warrington event is planned for Thursday 22nd October at The Pyramid in Warrington town centre. The event will take a slightly different format as students will have the opportunity to take part in taster workshops in teams with representatives from Sellafield Ltd, Atkins and Kawasaki Robotics. Places at the event are limited, so make sure you visit to book a place as soon as possible.

With construction now underway at the site on Dallam Lane students can look forward to watching their new college take shape over the coming months. The iconic building will be clearly visible from several vantage points across Warrington, especially to anyone travelling into the town on the Central station line or travelling along Midland Way alongside the Golden Square.

It’s official! UTC Warrington is under construction!

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.

I look forward to coming back to see it when the building is complete and buzzing with students.” Ground Breaking

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

Engineering a future for Warrington’s young people

UTC Warrington LogoWarrington’s brand new, state-of-the-art University Technical College Warrington (UTCW) held its inaugural business breakfast event last week to showcase the facilities that will be available to students and businesses alike when construction is completed in the summer of 2016.

On Friday 17th July 60 representatives from over 40 local businesses came together to find how the new £10 million University Technical College Warrington is set to change the face of the engineering and energy sectors in Warrington and beyond.

The event, hosted at The Centre on Birchwood Business Park, was held both for those businesses already involved in the project and for those interested in finding out more about how University Technical College Warrington will help address the skills gap within engineering within the Warrington area.

Hosted by a selection of key project stakeholders and, opened by Aidan McManus, Chair of the UTCW Project Board and Operations Director at Tenet Consultants, the event provided attendees with an overview of the project to date; followed by a presentation by newly appointed Principal & Chief Executive, Lee Barber on the curriculum and his vision for this landmark college. Stephanie Hutchinson, Marketing & Employer Engagement Manager also delivered an overview of marketing plans for the college. Presentations were followed by a question and answers session with Aidan and Lee, alongside Mike Houghton, Chair of UTCW Governing Body and Technical & Project Management Director at Amec Foster Wheeler; and John McCann, Principal Lecturer at the School of Engineering representing university sponsor Manchester Metropolitan University.

Construction of the new £10 million, 620-place UTCW is due to start next week following the approval in March from parliamentary Under-Secretary, Lord Nash. Ideally located in the heart of Warrington within the Stadium Quarter, UTCW will have excellent access to rail and bus networks.

UTCW is sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University and local employers. With support from Warrington Borough Council, 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.

Aidan McManus addresses attendees

Aidan McManus addresses attendees

UTCW will 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.

Attendees were impressed to see how much the project has moved forward in the last month and were excited by future plans that will be initiated over the next few months. Stephen Fitzsimmons, Membership & External Affairs Manager at EEF The Manufacturers Organisation said “It is great to see everything back on track”. Paula Quinn, Learning & Development Manager at Nuvia said “I found the presentations very interesting and I look forward to working with the UTC as the project develops.”

Speaking at the event, Lee Barber, Principal & Chief Executive said: “It was great to see such a vast amount of support for the college from so many key, local engineering and energy employers. There is a clearly a huge appetite in Warrington a specialist engineering institution. I look forward to the next 14 months as we work together to build this much needed institution both physically and in terms of students, employers and a curriculum which fits the needs of both employers and young people.”

Marketing & Employer Engagement Manager, Steph Hutchinson commented: “The business breakfast was a great way to mark the end of my first week of employment at UTC Warrington. I was blown away by the sheer number of high profile attendees. There is a lot to do over the next few months as we recruit students and further employee partners, but with support from the likes of Sellafield, Amec Foster Wheeler, Flamefast and Tenet Consultants I know we are going to take Warrington by storm!”

UTCs are a 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 students spend at UTCW will be dedicated to the technical specialisms of energy and engineering including design and building, working in teams and problem solving.

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 on valuable work experience projects.

Survey shows lack of workplace skills in young people

The new University Technical College Warrington (UTCW) is backing the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recommendation that stronger links must be formed between educators and business, better to prepare young people for work.

The BCC’s Workforce Survey* published this week shows that 88% of businesses overwhelmingly feel that many young people are not adequately prepared for the workplace, with more than 76% believing a lack of work experience is the reason.

Project supporter, Lynda Moore comments:  “This report clearly shows that employers are crying out for young people who are ‘work-ready’.

“Working with employers in the region, we will be preparing our young people to be successful employees of the future. Our students will be working closely with our employer partners from day one, to ensure they become skilled, qualified and experienced.

“They will follow a curriculum designed and delivered in conjunction with employers to ensure the students experience realistic challenges and produce innovative solutions.  In addition to work experience placements, they will work on real-life projects, created and assessed by employers, in workshops that will be based on real working environments with industry standard equipment. “

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “This isn’t about pointing the finger at young people – it is a joint responsibility between businesses, the education system and Government to provide the right skills and support that young people need to make it in the world of work. It is vital that we proactively build a pipeline of young talent who will go on to become the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs, as failure to do so could damage the UK’s future growth prospects and risk a lost generation of young people.”

University Technical College Warrington (UTCW) Garners Unprecedented Support

With a year to go until the opening of the new £10m University Technical College Warrington (UTCW), the engineering and energy specialist College, has received overwhelming support amongst the community.

The findings from the UTCW’s recent Public Consultation Report, shows that of the 530 respondents, 98% of parents/adults and 94% of employers believe that it is important for the young people of Warrington that UTCW offers an alternative education for 14-19 year olds, with a focus on energy and engineering.

UTC Warrington is a Government funded college, sponsored by the University of Chester and supported by Warrington Borough Council, that offers 14-19 year olds the opportunity to integrate technical, practical and academic learning in a way that just isn’t possible in a traditional school environment.  UTCW has secured the backing of 35 local employers, ranging from FTSE100 listed organisations to SME consultancies.  These include Sellafield Ltd, the Boulting Group and AMEC.Employers are heavily involved in the development of the curriculum, which ensures that students can develop the abilities and employability skills that local employers require.

One parent interviewed commented: “As a parent of a Year 6 pupil, I consider it to be important to develop skills which are in need locally. It will also help young people reach their aspirations and provide choice.”

The report also highlights what the community perceive as the core strengths of the UTCW which includes the links with local employers, technical skills and training, employability skills, career related projects and opportunities to progress to university, an apprenticeship or employment.

One employer commented: “The current education system has left us with a skills gap that threatens our economy. UTCs are addressing this shortage and giving young people the chance to be employable.”

The significant majority of people interviewed also agreed that the specialism on energy and engineering made complete sense for the region, with one respondent commenting: “The UTC will help with the skills shortage for engineering which is vital for Warrington to keep business in the region.”

Commenting on the Consultation Report, UTCW Principal Catherine Collier, said: “We are delighted by the outcomes of the Consultation Report which demonstrates the support we have from all sections of the community. It is clear that the UTCW is very much in demand and will have a significant impact on the futures of young people, employers and therefore the overall economic prosperity of Warrington. We have a very clear mandate in going forward.”

You can download the full version or a summary below:

UTC Warrington Consultation Survey Full PDF
UTC Warrington Consultation Survey Summary PDF

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