Lord Baker meets UTC Sheffield students

28th January 2014

The founder of the country's university technical college programme returned to Sheffield this week to meet Yorkshire's first students.

    The Rt Hon Lord Kenneth Baker met staff and students at UTC Sheffield - the first educational institution of its kind to open in Yorkshire and the Humber - on Wednesday, January 22.   During his visit, the former education secretary toured the £9.9 million facility on Matilda Street, and heard about the progress made since UTC Sheffield opened in September 2013 at the start of this academic year.   He spoke to learners about the skills they are developing in the two key sectors that UTC Sheffield specialises in - advanced engineering and manufacturing, and creative and digital media - and also met members of the governing body.   Lord Baker, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Trust, said: -UTC Sheffield is off to a strong start and I congratulate the staff and students.  It has a very positive ethos students really want to learn to acquire good technical skills that local companies need.  The target is that no student will join the ranks of the unemployed when they leave.   High flier Hunor Kacso, 17, already has outstanding GCSE results and is now studying hard for A levels. He is aiming for a career as a commercial pilot. A talented mathematician, he enjoys physics and the challenge of top level problem-solving.    Hunor chose UTC Sheffield because the education it offers high quality science courses and the chance to work with employers such as Rolls Royce, Newburgh and Siemens on live projects. He said: "I was very impressed with Lord Baker. I couldn't have made a better choice coming to the UTC, because of the equipment and the mix of academic and technical learning."   UTCs are a new type of academy, funded by the Department for Education, which offer a combination of academic and technical qualifications that match regional employers' skills needs and boost young people's career prospects.    The Baker Dearing Trust, an educational trust set up by Lord Baker, has been working to establish a national network of UTCs. There are now a total of 17 UTCs across the country, and this number is set to increase to 44 by 2015.   Nick Crew, UTC Sheffield Principal, said: "We are fortunate to be one of the most successful UTCs in the country in terms of student recruitment, solid backing from employers and strong support from other partners in the city. It has been very rewarding welcoming Lord Baker back to Sheffield to visit us, given that he was behind UTC Sheffield from its inception."   Lord Baker visited Sheffield in 2012, prior to the UTC being built, when he addressed employers at Cutlers Hall to encourage them to support and get involved in the project, and again in 2013 to see the UTC Sheffield whilst it was under construction.    The UTC has been sponsored and led by The Sheffield College with Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce as co-sponsors.   More than 40 employers are backing UTC Sheffield in a range of ways. This includes providing guaranteed recruitment interviews, sponsorship and work placements, and shaping the curriculum and its content by setting industry based projects.    Key supporters include Siemens, Newburgh Engineering, Rolls Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters, Tata Steel, the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, Performance Engineered Solutions, Team Cooper Games, Warp Films, Sumo, Resolve IT and Visionmix.   UTC Sheffield is recruiting now for Year 10 and Year 12 places beginning in September 2014. To find out more and to attend the next open evening on Tuesday, January 28 go to www.utcsheffield.org.uk or call 0114 2603970.

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