The multi-million pound bid to set up a University Technical College (UTC) in Newhaven, specialising in marine and environmental engineering today received the green light from the government. The bid was submitted by the Foundation, the University of Brighton and Lewes District Council in partnership with lead employment sponsor Veolia Environmental Services Plc.
The new college will provide 600 students with the opportunity for technically oriented study, in professional surroundings. It will link learning with real life experience and employment by providing a completely new educational environment.
The college is designed in partnership with local and national employers to ensure that students are provided with clear routes into jobs or further education and that they are ready for the world of work. UTCs can make sense of learning for young people who are not motivated by ‘conventional’ schools.
Current plans are for the college to open its doors in September 2015. It will attract students from a wide area including Worthing, Bexhill and Haywards Heath. A number of potential locations for the UTC have been already been identified in Newhaven, including a central site in town.
The involvement of the University of Brighton and employers means that students will benefit from properly-assessed work placements and from a curriculum designed by experts in the field. During a typical 9am to 5pm day, students will
combine practice and theory and gain higher education qualifications or apprenticeships.
Evidence of demand and local support for the UTC formed an important part of the successful bid. Survey results showed overwhelming support from businesses with 87 per cent strongly supporting the idea of the UTC and 75 per cent anticipating that they would benefit from it. More than half of the students and two thirds of parents who completed the survey expressed an interest in the UTC to provide skilled and qualified employees for local, regional and national employers. Local schools and education providers such as Sussex Downs College and Tideway School in Newhaven have also strongly supported the bid and helped shape it.
The creation of the UTC will aim to meet the needs of young people who will benefit from a more vocational training route. As part of the recent National Apprenticeship week, the Prime Minister recently said he wanted work-based training to sit “at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy.”
Welcoming the news, Sir Rod Aldridge said:
“We’re all in this for the same reason – to give more young people a chance to reach their full potential. Education doesn’t have to be a ‘one size fits all’ and I am absolutely convinced that this UTC will appeal strongly to students looking for a different way to learn. Close links with employers will ensure that students get an exciting, entrepreneurial education and a real head start in their future careers.”
Professor Julian Crampton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: ” I am delighted that this ambitious plan has been given the go-ahead. It gives young people a fantastic opportunity to gain both academic and practical engineering experience, and will prepare them for their working lives. We are committed to the development of the first UTC in the sub region and look forward to sharing our expertise.”
Allan Key, General Manager (South Downs) of the main employer sponsor Veolia Environmental Services, said:”As the leading recycling and waste management company both nationally and regionally, we are excited by the prospect of the UTC and proud to be the lead-employer sponsor of this innovative, educational facility. We are looking forward to helping develop skilled and qualified employees of the future.”
Councillor James Page, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “This is excellent news not just for Newhaven but for Lewes District and beyond. The creation of a University Technical College, focusing on marine and environmental technology, links well with our aspirations to develop Newhaven as a centre for green industries. Undoubtedly key developments in the town such as the E.ON wind farm will require a skilled workforce, as will the proposed indoor water park which aims to harness the energy
it requires from the new Veolia Energy Recovery Facility. The UTC gives such employers the opportunity to develop their employees of the future before they even leave college.”
Robert Corbett, Head Teacher at Tideway school, said: “Both myself and the Board of Governors at Tideway fully support the creation of a UTC in Newhaven as we believe that it will enhance the educational and employment opportunities for young people in the town and wider community. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the partners supporting the UTC”.