Young people invited to UTC Sheffield technical skills showcase events

9th January 2023

Young people across South Yorkshire are invited to attend two Post 16 open evenings this month organised by Sheffield’s University Technical Colleges (UTCs).

The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust runs two successful UTCs for 13 to 19-year-olds, which are both Ofsted graded ‘good.

Together, they offer five specialisms in high growth industries, as well as GCSEs and A Levels, and are backed by 70 employers.

  • UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Old Hall Road, specialises in computing, health sciences and sport science. Its showcase event takes place on Tuesday, January 10th, 2023, from 5pm until 7.15pm.
  • UTC Sheffield City Centre, Matilda Street, specialises in engineering and advanced manufacturing and creative and digital media. Its showcase event takes place on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023, from 5pm until 7pm.

Both of the events are for teenagers interested in applying for a Post 16 place for September 2023. Visitors will be able to meet staff and students and tour the new facilities.

Nick Crew, Executive Principal, The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust, said: “Our employer backed curriculum ensures our students develop world class skills in great facilities and have strong career and university prospects. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of talent to our UTCs.”

UTCs are government funded technical schools that provide academic and technical qualifications to match the skills needs of regional employers, supporting economic growth and employment.  

Students complete technical qualifications alongside GCSEs and A Levels.  They also work on employer set projects to develop technical, team working and problem-solving skills for their careers.

The majority of last summer’s Year 13 leavers have progressed to university, apprenticeships or employment.

One UTC alumnus who is building a new career is Jean-Batiste Clary Niemi-Junkola, who is at the forefront of a new industry trend having launched a non-fungible token digital art collection.

Jean-Batiste is studying game art at Sheffield Hallam University after completing a creative and digital media technical qualification, and art and photography A Levels, at UTC Sheffield City Centre in 2019. He is currently on an enterprise sandwich year placement.

Jean-Batiste, 21, said: “NFTs are still brand new, so it’s exciting that artists have this opportunity to make a living from their own art. I am currently working, as part of an enterprise year at Sheffield Hallam, on an NFT digital art collection.

“I made another art collection of five pieces before this one that I am proud of and it turned out to be quite successful, so I’m looking to continue that trend.”

An NFT is a digital rather than physical asset which is sold online. The digital content that can be traded includes artwork, text, music, video and photography.

The benefits of working in this way include the creator being able to find a marketplace online without using an intermediatory such as an art gallery. As part of the process, their work is ‘minted’ to protect copyright and ‘tokenised’ by a cryptocurrency service.

Long term, Jean-Batiste’s career ambition is to be able to make a living from the creation of art, animations and video games.

Reflecting on his time at UTC Sheffield City Centre, Jean-Batiste said: “One of my favourite memories of the UTC was having great friends to hang out and work with. Being around creative or like-minded people is such a great feeling and that gave me a lot of motivation regarding life goals and ambitions. 

“We were also given time to develop our ideas and projects and a lot of creative freedom. I made an animation, which allowed me to develop my skills without rushing. It’s a piece of work that I am still proud of today.

“Sometimes what you need is time and resources, and the UTC provided that. I would recommend the UTC to people wanting to develop their creative skills independently.

“My advice to other young people is do what you love, and the money will come later. You don’t want to live a life doing something you don’t enjoy,” added Jean-Batiste, whose work can be viewed here.

“Money is often very distracting. Being able to get good at something first and then monetising it later helps you develop the skill with absolute focus and without money influencing every creative decision you make.”

Meanwhile, another UTC engineering alumnus, Kamil Zmich, 24, has recently won a bronze medal in the WorldSkills 2022 Industry 4.0 Final In Germany 2022.

Approximately 70 employers support the UTCs including AES Seal, Bauer Media Group, Fernite, Festo, Finger Industries, Hive, Inspec Solutions, Lavender International, PES Performance, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Live, Siemens and Sumo Digital.

Other backing the UTCs include the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Palo Alto Networks, Medilink UK, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield International Venues, Westfield Health, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

To book your Year 12 showcase event place at UTC Sheffield City Centre, visit https://www.utcsheffield.org.uk/city/events/.

To book your Year 12 showcase event place at UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, visit https://www.utcsheffield.org.uk/olp/events/.

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