You can see the proof in the places our students go…
About this time every year, we survey the many thousands of UTC leavers to ensure their experience while studying at one of our 48 technical schools matches our high expectations. This year, despite the many recent challenges faced with school closures, exam cancellations and uncertainty over next steps caused by Covid-19, it is reassuring to hear such positive feedback from our leavers about their UTC education. With the combination of state-of-the-art facilities, excellent technical tuition, and strong employer and university links, it is no wonder that they feel their UTC experience has prepared them well for the next stage of their careers. This experience is also reflected in the track record of our students’ destinations.
As with most schools, the most popular destination for UTC students leaving at eighteen years of age is university. Last year 45% of all UTC leavers progressed into full time higher education. Unsurprisingly, subjects linked to UTC specialisms continue to prove popular with students with three quarters of those entering university starting a course related to Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics – compared to 45% nationally. Specifically, UTC leavers are also much more likely to choose an engineering-related course at university (41% vs just 7% nationally) with mechanical, civil, and aeronautical engineering proving the most popular.
Apprenticeship starts are also high amongst UTC sixth-form leavers. In 2019, 22% started apprenticeships, compared with just 10% nationally, and where the level of apprenticeship was indicated, higher starts (Level 4+) accounted for more than half of all UTC leaver apprenticeship destinations (57%). This is the fifth year in a row that 20%+ UTC leavers at eighteen started high-quality apprenticeships, with close to 100 leavers across the programme securing the ‘gold dust’ (a guaranteed job, no student debt) of a degree apprenticeship. Combining UTC leaver university starts with higher apprenticeship starts provides an aggregate for all UTC leavers who progressed to a ‘higher’ destination. 53% of Y13 UTC leavers progressed into these ‘higher’ destinations, which is well above national averages.
Elsewhere, a significant percentage (13%) of UTC leavers progressed directly into the world of work. Combined with those students who started an apprenticeship, there were fifteen national employers who took at least five UTC students into their companies last year. Organisations ranging from The Royal Navy to Cisco, from Global Media to National Grid all saw something special in the unique combination of attitudes, attributes and skills nurtured at UTCs.
Of course, the class of 2020 UTC leavers is entering a very uncertain world, as the UK heads towards the unenviable record of having the worst recession among leading economies. Surely now, more than any time in recent history, young people need an education with the right skills, qualifications, and aptitudes, to be at the front of the queue in a dauntingly competitive jobs’ market? It won’t be easy for any school leavers this year, but UTC students, with an education targeting employability and specialising in structural growth sectors of the economy such as engineering and digital, are very well placed.