Charlie was one of the first group of students to join Energy Coast UTC when it opened its doors in September 2014. Now in year 11, he was recently nominated for the Cumbria ‘Learner of the Year’ award sponsored by local businesses and the University of Cumbria.

Baker Dearing caught up with Charlie to find out a little more and began by asking him why he decided to study at Energy Coast UTC

“I chose to study at the Energy Coast UTC because I felt it would offer a new and unique learning experience, which would be perfect to help me to study to become a civil engineer. Within the UTC the combination of an adult working environment, a new state of the art building and equipment and specialised staff who could connect me to local industries, has made coming here a life-changing experience.

"In addition, vocational studies and numerous links with major local employers set the College aside from other schools in the area. The countless opportunities offered have helped me to create connections with employers, something which I believe is valuable and essential when applying for a job or further education course.”

Asking Charlie to reflect on the differences between study at the UTC and his previous school, he had this to say:

“The mix between technical and theoretical study has been one of the major differences for me. Studying for my BTEC Level 2 in 'Construction and the Built Environment' is something I would never have been able to do in my previous school, and I feel it is essential for the career I wish to go into. With spending so much time at College, due to our longer school day, I have managed to achieve many things, such as taking part in group projects, organising and managing three weeks of my own work experience and taking part in the School Council. I am also a Literacy Leader, and have become a Lead Student Officer for Key Stage 4. In fact, I feel within my first year at the Energy Coast UTC, I have achieved so much more than in three years at my previous school. This is all in addition to studying for my GCSEs and BTEC Level 2”.

Studying at the UTC has helped Charlie to become clearer on what he wants to pursue as a career:

“At the Energy Coast UTC, we spend lots of time interacting with different local and national employers, in order to give a view as to what we want to do after concluding our studies. When I started at the College, I had a vague idea that I wanted to work in the railway industry, but I was unsure as to which route of further education to take. With the help of our Personal Learning Managers, employer projects, attending fairs and conferences, and participating in work experiences, I now know that I want to study civil engineering at university, and later to go to work in railway infrastructure design. I value the hard work and commitment that Energy Coast UTC and our employers and sponsors do to raise our awareness of this.”

Charlie then went on to explain how the nomination for the Learner of the Year award took him by surprise:

“When I first heard I had been nominated for this award, I was pleasantly surprised! After reading my nomination written by my geography teacher, with quotes from other members of staff and teachers, I was overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments. It is believed that I actually 'inhaled books’, after I had read all of the science and maths section of the College library in my first term. My teachers have said I am polite, conscientious, hard-working, mature, gifted and responsible, and I am humbled by this. The Golden Apple Learner of the Year Award recognises someone who demonstrates a commitment to their development and shows that education has made a difference to their lives enabling them to make great progress in their education.

“Just being nominated is a major achievement itself and was a surprise to me, and being one of the top three students in Cumbria is something I would never believe could happen to me. Through positive mentoring and a stimulating environment, I know I have developed in confidence and understanding as well as making great progress in my academic learning.”

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