12 Sep 2017, 12:01 a.m. / News

New research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

  1. Building apps (45%)
  2. Creating Games (43%)
  3. Virtual reality (38%)
  4. Coding computer languages (34%)
  5. Artificial intelligence (28%)

Almost one in four children (24%) feel uninspired to learn at school and almost one third (32%) believe they are more knowledgeable than their teachers in technology. It seems that children are already looking to skills they will need for future jobs, considering careers in games creation (20%) app development (17%) and computer coding (15%).

UTCs are backed by employers and universities, and have been set up to ensure young people have the technical skills employers desperately need in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM). However, additional research by Baker Dearing reveals that 7 in 10 children do not know that they can move school at the age of 14 to join a UTC. It is hoped that the letters being sent by local councils will increase young peoples’ and their parents’ awareness of the opportunities available.

CEO of Pall-Ex and former BBC Dragon, Hilary Devey CBE says:

Helping young people gain the technical skills they need to give Britain a competitive advantage in post-Brexit Britain is vital to the long-term growth of our economy. Technology is at the heart of my business and I know how important it is to keep ahead of competition by using the latest technological developments.

However, finding young people who have the relevant skills levels is a huge challenge. A technical education, like that provided by UTCs, which starts at 14 and gives young people more time to develop these skills, makes sense to me.

Charles Parker, CEO of Baker Dearing Educational Trust comments:

Changing school at 14 means young people interested in technical careers such as computing, robotics, engineering or cyber security, can get ahead. We must harness this young talent if we are to meet the challenges of Brexit and a world that is undergoing rapid, and continual, technological change.

We welcome the letters being sent out by councils which mark a significant change in how technical skills are being promoted across the country. UTCs ensure young people have the skills they need to compete in the job market and our students secure excellent apprenticeships and places at university. We need to ensure parents and young people know about them.

For more information about UTCs, please visit: www.utcolleges.org/future

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