Pioneering University Technical College confirmed for Westminster

A new University Technical College to train and inspire a new generation of engineers, technicians and business leaders for transport engineering and construction jobs has been given the green light by the Department for Education and will be established in Westminster by September 2015.

Based close to Victoria, the Sir Simon Milton University Technical College will welcome 175 14-16 year olds in the first year and will offer students a combination of vocational and academic qualifications.

Employers led by Network Rail have been actively involved in shaping the curriculum to ensure that students emerge well-equipped for jobs in the construction, transport and engineering industries. Learners will be able to go on to further study or jobs through specialist routes combining work experience and business challenges with national qualifications.

The University of Westminster will continue to lead the educational plan for the UTC offering mentors, teaching support and progression to undergraduate courses. Westminster City Council will connect the UTC to other high-performing schools and colleges in Westminster.

To ensure that young Londoners from all areas and backgrounds are able to take advantage of the UTC, the Sir Simon Milton Foundation will offer bursaries each year to support some students through their studies.

The UTC will be based in an area with 7.5% of young people not in education, employment or training – higher than the London average – and will help to encourage young people from across London into vocational training in vital industries, further study and onto the job ladder.

Sir Peter Rogers, Chairman of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, which initiated and directed the bid to establish the Sir Simon Milton UTC said:

“The Foundation is delighted to be successful in its bid to establish a UTC in the centre of London. This will help to improve the educational and career opportunities of hundreds of young Londoners every year.

“We are working closely with some of the country’s leading infrastructure, construction and engineering firms, including Network Rail, BT Fleet, Transport for London, Crossrail, Mace and Land Securities to offer something unique to young Londoners and fulfil the industry’s requirement for more than 16,000 new technical specialists in the next three years alone.

“We know that there is real demand from parents for this sort of offer as more than 400 parents have expressed an interest in applying for a place for their child and we look forward to the day that we can welcome our first students.”

Professor Geoff Petts, Vice-Chancellor, University of Westminster said:

“The University of Westminster is very proud to be the sole university partner leading the development of this new UTC in London’s Victoria, which will open many doors for our young people in the capital and equip future generations with the skills and knowledge to succeed in transport engineering and construction.

“Our unrivalled Westminster Employer Alliance, which brings together six leading employers in the sectors, will ensure that teaching is tailored to the needs of industry and learners will have access to highly relevant skills development. The curriculum will balance academic and technical studies with a high proportion of learners expected to continue studying at Diploma and Degree level.

“As we celebrate the University’s 175th anniversary, this is a timely re-affirmation of our founders’ vision to provide access to pioneering technological education at the heart of London.”

David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail said:

“There are many challenges ahead for UK transport organisations to deliver a bigger and better network, and in particular for us to address the capacity issues on the railway to get more people to where they need to be. To meet these challenges we need to have a highly skilled workforce and that means playing our part in educating and training people – but also inspiring a new generation of engineers, technicians and business leaders to come and work in this exciting industry which is embarking on an investment programme unseen since Victorian times.

“Working with our partners, we believe this UTC can make a real difference to the young people of London and the south east and we aim to provide them not only with a top class education but also the life skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in their careers.

“In particular, we recognise the opportunity to positively influence female students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds to consider apprenticeships and other career opportunities offered by the 21st century rail and construction sectors.”

Cllr Philippa Roe, Leader of Westminster City Council said:

“On behalf of Westminster City Council I am delighted to offer our full backing to the Sir Simon Milton University Technical College which will provide ladders of opportunity for young people into education, employment and training.

“This UTC will bring something entirely different to the already excellent education landscape in Westminster. With many young residents looking for work not just in Westminster but across London, the UTC will offer young people a springboard into exciting careers in engineering and construction.”

Cllr Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council and partner of the late Sir Simon Milton said:

“Simon felt passionately about helping young people to get on in the world, so I am delighted that we will be able to further this goal by providing a quality education for hundreds of young Londoners, suited to what they really want to do.”