9 Dec 2014, 11:09 a.m. / News

Students from Black Country UTC, Hackney UTC, The JCB Academy and UTC Central Bedfordshire received awards for technical education from The Duke of York at St James’s Palace.

The Award was launched last year to recognise the success of young people choosing technical education and to encourage wider support for this form of study.

Presenting the awards, HRH The Duke of York, KG told the students:

If we want to be a prosperous country in the twenty-first century it's self evident you have to invest in the skills of young people. We need to give you the best start we can. That's why I am supporting what UTCs are doing.

This route you have chosen is going to give you more capability and advantage. Congratulations, I wish you every continued success in your future careers.

Lord Baker, Chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the organisation behind UTCs, said:

The Duke of York Technical Awards is a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of young people who choose technical education.

UTCs offer them clear pathways to jobs, apprenticeships and further study. The success of the students here today demonstrates how they are already putting this into action and are on their way to creating bright futures for themselves.

The Duke of York also presented awards to two UTC students for outstanding achievement; James Gratton and Danish Akram.

James was rewarded for his drive, commitment and technical curiosity well in advance of his years, including work experience placements at Rolls-Royce, Network Rail, Atkins and the JCB Plant and top grades in engineering, maths and physics. This special award was sponsored by The Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

James said:

My advice to any student interested in engineering or business would be – go to a University Technical College. You mix different types of learning, both the theory and the practice, and work on a whole variety of applied projects. You have to put a lot in – but you get a lot out!

His achievements have also been recognised through winning a scholarship with Boeing to read for an M.Eng in Engineering and Mechatronics.

Danish, from Derby, is currently studying automotive engineering at Sheffield Hallam University but initially had no clear ambitions for his future:

I had no plans to go to college, let alone university. But JCB Academy turned out to be a fantastic opportunity. Students work alongside people who’ve been in industry for 20 or 30 years. They give you so much support and encouragement and little by little, I started to have more confidence in myself.

Both Danish’s teachers and the judges were impressed with his courage and self-discipline to work tirelessly to achieve his goal. Danish’s award was sponsored by an anonymous donor.

Bronze and Silver Duke of York Awards are based on achievement in GCSE and level 1 and 2 technical qualifications and the Gold Award is based on A Level and/or level 3 technical qualifications.

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