Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has hailed today’s announcement that Crewe will be home to a new University Technical College that will boost the region’s engineering skills.
UTC Crewe will cater for 14-19-year-olds who want to pursue careers in engineering and high skill manufacturing, working with major local employers to develop gold-standard vocational qualifications alongside he more traditional qualifications. UTC Crewe is due to open in September 2016.
UTCs already operate in other parts of the country but this is the first of its kind in Crewe.
The announcement comes as five cities in the North of England met Chancellor George Osborne to unveil a £15bn plan to improve road and rail connections in the region. The joint One North report includes plans for a new 125mph inter-city rail link, faster links and better access to ports and airports.
Mr Osborne said faster links could create a ‘northern global powerhouse’.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council hailed the Government’s decision on the UTC today saying it was great news for Crewe, Cheshire East and the north of England as a whole.
He said: “The Chancellor George Osborne, Prime Minister David Cameron and I share the same vision: to drive out unemployment, boost connectivity, create jobs and give our young people the employment opportunities they deserve.
“It is also about rebalancing our economy, boosting the North’s transport engineering skills and delivering better connectivity across the region to unleash its full economic potential and create jobs.
“Britain’s once world-beating manufacturing sector has suffered over the decades leading to lost opportunities to train our youngsters up to become the leading engineers of the future.
“Cheshire East Council has held this vision for some time and we are delighted that the Government has now thrown its full weight behind this idea.
“We also fully support securing more apprentices and our own award-winning apprentice scheme, The A-Team, which offers fantastic training for our youngsters in Cheshire East.”
The UTC scheme is a partnership between Cheshire East Council, Bentley Motors, Manchester Metropolitan University, Siemens, Bosch, OSL Rail, Jacobs Engineering, Chevron Racing, Optical 3D and South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.
The aim is to fill the gap local businesses have of young people with automotive, engineering, rail and design skills in these growing industries.
The bid had the strong support of local Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, who said today: “I have really pushed for this college in government because I have seen with my own eyes what the young people of Crewe and Nantwich are capable of when given the opportunity of first-class technical training.
“I want them set up for life with skills that will keep them employed and spur them on to higher education if they want it.
“This college will be producing the engineers of the future under the guidance of some stellar companies. I am so pleased we pulled it off.”
The teaching staff at UTC Crewe will crucially be able to draw on expertise from a range of partners to ensure the academic and practical learning activities are relevant for the changing world of work leading to clear student paths into academia, employment or both.
Bentley’s member of the board for human resources Dr Ariane Reinhart said: “UTC Crewe is fantastic news for Crewe, local students and for Bentley. It will enhance the local community, boosting skills, education and employability, for the benefit of individuals and many organisations.”
Bentley will work with the college and its partners to help design a curriculum that reflects the needs of industry and provides an exciting and inspiring learning environment.
Mathew Conway, engineering director of Crewe-based firm OSL, one of the UK’s leading rail infrastructure companies, said: “I am so pleased UTC Crewe has been accepted.
“It is a fantastic schooling strategy, which I term school-plus. It will allow young professionals of the future, working with real business and educational partners, several educational pathways to gain both academic theory and real-world, practical, work-based experience.
“This experience will provide them with the right skills and attitudes to enable them to build careers from either apprenticeship level or graduate schemes following university which can only benefit the individuals and ultimately local and national businesses.”