Innovative school will boost engineering education in Leeds

The University has joined with local organisations and businesses to set up a Leeds school aimed at 14 to 18 year olds interested in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Students in a classroom

Approval for the new University Technical College (UTC), which is expected to open its doors in September 2016, was announced by the Department for Education and is part of a national effort to tackle skills shortages in the engineering sector.

 Major business partners Kodak UK, Agfa, Unilever, Siemens and Grant Thornton will lead the project, with support from the University, Leeds City Council, Leeds City College and Leeds Chamber of Commerce.

The Leeds UTC is expected to have an eventual total capacity of 600 pupils. It will operate under the government’s academy schools programme and will offer traditional GCSEs and A levels with an additional focus on advanced manufacturing and engineering.  

The location of the school has not been announced. 

Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: "Engineering and advanced manufacturing is one of the most dynamic and important sectors of the economy in the Leeds City Region.  It is vital that we equip young people—boys and girls—with the skills they need for employment in this sector.  

“The Royal Academy of Engineering has backed the concept of University Technical Colleges and the new college in Leeds will draw on a strong partnership between local industry leaders, Leeds City College, Leeds City Council and the University to provide exciting new educational opportunities for 14-18 year-olds interested in engineering. 

“The Faculty of Engineering at the University will advise on curriculum development and provide opportunities for UTC students to access specialist equipment and expertise in the course of their studies." 

The UTC scheme, run by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, is a national programme to establish specialist technical schools supported by universities, industry and other partners. UTCs offer full-time courses in which academic, technical and practical learning are fully integrated. For example, a student might learn maths within a technical specialism or while working on a practical task. Employers are involved from the start in shaping the curriculum.

Professor Peter Jimack, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "We will be getting involved with the development of the school's curriculum and developing links between our students and the pupils at the UTC. We are also really excited by the prospect of developing project work for post-16 pupils that is modeled on the work they would be doing as undergraduates. This is just part of a much wider programme of outreach to schools by the University, which we will continue to expand. It is  a great opportunity to raise the profile of engineering much earlier in pupils' school careers."

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