Douglas Jones has just completed his final year at Wigan UTC. As a result of his studies there, he has achieved the top grade of D☆D☆D☆ for his Extended Diploma in engineering, acquired an NVQ qualification in German, passed his maths AS Level, and has secured the Higher Level Apprenticeship he wanted with United Utilities.

On finishing his apprenticeship, Doug hopes to get a permanent job with the organisation and progress to managerial level, an aspiration that he would not have dreamed of before moving to his UTC.

Read about Doug’s UTC journey and how it helped him shape his future career path:

Why Wigan?

Doug always knew he wanted to be an engineer, but living in Cornwall and a student at a large community college where he was unable to focus on his special interest, made him look for another place to study his A Levels.

I had always been really interested in engineering and had passed by Wigan UTC when I used to travel up from Cornwall to visit my Dad who lives there. Wigan is an industrial city and I felt that being immersed in that environment and studying at a school where I could specialise in the subject area I most enjoy would help me build the right skills for a future job in engineering.

On attending an open day, Doug was attracted to the UTC’s state of the art learning facilities, which included large engineering workshops and the latest equipment. He also liked that the dress code and hours mimicked those of a professional working environment, rather than a school:

The business dress code and the business hours that the school operated on attracted me because I knew it would prepare me better for working life than any college would.

Spot the difference

Doug made the big decision to leave his life in Cornwall and enrol at the UTC so he could choose one of its specialist study programmes and divide his time between an AS Level in maths, an NVQ Level 2 in German and an Extended Diploma in engineering. On becoming a student there, he noticed some key differences from his previous school:

The UTC was so much smaller than my old community college; I felt a lot closer to my teachers and had a lot more support from them. There was always an opportunity to talk to someone if I had a question about my studies or needed advice. And then of course there was the fact that I could specialise in engineering, something that a lot of other secondary schools wouldn’t offer as a subject.

Future plans

Doug’s UTC education has really helped him shape his plans for the future:

The visits from employers and work experience programmes that I got to take part in whilst at Wigan UTC made me realise just how many jobs are available to engineers and the range of sectors that engineering’s linked to.

My UTC has definitely changed my life. I couldn’t have imagined getting my apprenticeship with United Utilities had I stayed at my last school. The time I spent at Wigan gave me a great outlook on where I could be in the next 10 years. Choosing a UTC was the right choice for me.

Wigan UTC is a secondary school for 14-19 year olds studying GCSEs and A Levels. Working in partnership with the University, College and prestigious local and multinational companies, Wigan UTC combines academic, technical and practical learning to fully prepare its students for university, apprenticeship or full time employment after leaving. Wigan UTC has a special focus on engineering and students are able to complete BTEC qualifications in this specialism alongside other GCSEs and A Levels.

Visit the Wigan UTC website for more information.

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