LEP welcomes second University Technical College

Published 6th August 2014 at 11:17am

The Sheffield City Region LEP has welcomed news that Sheffield’s bid to develop a second university technical college has been approved to move to the pre-opening stage.

Educationalists, businesses and civic leaders are throwing their weight behind the plan which is being led and sponsored by The Sheffield College in partnership with employers, the city’s two universities and the council.

The project’s co-sponsors are Sheffield Hallam University, which has a world class reputation in the field of human and sports science, and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Department for Education has approved the initial application for the Sheffield Human Sciences and Digital Technologies UTC to progress to the next stage.

The £10 million UTC  is due to open on the site of the former Don Valley Stadium in September 2016. It will train young people in the skills needed for the sports science, health and digital technology sectors. Students, aged 14 to 19, will complete traditional academic and technical qualifications. The catchment area for recruitment is South Yorkshire. The total number of student places is 600 by 2019.

Andrew Cropley, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Business Development, The Sheffield College, said: “We are delighted that Sheffield’s bid for a second UTC has been given the go ahead. We will use all the experience that we’ve gained from our success with UTC Sheffield, the first of its kind in Yorkshire and the Humber, and work with our partners to create an extraordinary and career focused educational experience for young people who have an interest in the science of the human body and computing.”

Professor Karen Bryan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the faculty of health and wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Sheffield Hallam is excited to be taking up a key role in the sponsorship of this new UTC. With our world-renowned expertise in health-care and sports science, we are delighted to be able to work alongside employers to help shape the curriculum at the UTC.  This will ensure that students benefit from a rich learning experience that will prepare them brilliantly for work or further study upon completion of their qualifications.”

Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, Sheffield City Council, added: “We welcome this exciting opportunity to extend the range of learning opportunities for young people in the city region, particularly those interested in careers in the health sector, medical and sports technologies, or programming and system design. These are all growing areas in the global as well as the local economy and the new UTC offers the opportunity for 14 to 19 year olds to work closely with local employers and universities at the cutting edge of development in these sectors.

“Sheffield is one of the few places in the country chosen to host two UTCs, which has no doubt been boosted by the success of the first purpose-built UTC in Sheffield city centre. It also demonstrates the government’s faith in the council’s strategy, backed by our employers, universities and of course The Sheffield College, to create specialist learning institutions which better prepare young people for the workplace.”

Employers will influence all aspects of the UTC, particularly its curriculum content so that the training and education students receive is related to and supports regional business needs. They will also provide work placements and projects, sponsorship opportunities and have input into the design of the building.

The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan for 2015/25 identifies healthcare and digital technologies as being key to jobs in the region. Employer partners include Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Eagles, MLS Contracts, Sheffield International Venues and Highlander. Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield will also have significant input into the curriculum.

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted at the news that Sheffield is to have its second UTC and that this one will be dedicated to providing skilled, motivated and well-prepared young people to help support the health and wellbeing of future generations.”

Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said:  “We are sponsoring this excellent development along with The Sheffield College and Sheffield Hallam University and believe it is another positive step forward for the city region. This is partly due to the success of Sheffield’s first UTC, where a big element has been employer engagement. Employer engagement is critical in good UTCs because it allows them to really understand what businesses want and need from education. The employers influence course content and delivery, and that is so important to the economy of the future.

“Also, this latest UTC is exciting in that it is supporting a “new” sector we are developing strategically for the future in the region. The wellness agenda is becoming increasingly important internationally as we struggle to cope with higher and older populations and the health costs associated with that. Sheffield leads the way in the UK but we must invest in technology and skills to properly realise the commercial opportunities from it. We believe that training in sports science, health and technology will provide Sheffield with a highly-skilled workforce on a global level and this can only be positive news for the private sector.”

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