The UTC Story

Lord Baker and Lord Dearing developed the concept of University Technical Colleges (“UTCs”) in 2009 because the schools' system does not address the needs of English employers for work-ready 18-year-olds with a technical education suited to the needs of the modern economy.

UTCs are established by employers seeking to fill skills gaps in their local areas. They are publicly funded academies with an age range of 14-19, a longer school day to cover the Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (“STEM”) related GCSEs as well as technical qualifications. UTCs teach one or more technical specialisms that meet the skills shortages in the region. These include: engineering; manufacturing; computer science; health sciences; digital technologies; and cybersecurity. The UTC governing body is always controlled by local employers and a local university.

There are now 50 open UTCs across England. Each of them is in a new building with excellent facilities. When full UTCs will provide around 30,000 students with an excellent technical education and they will be able to contribute significantly to the skills shortage reported at c 200,000 (Employer Skills Survey 2015). UTCs tend to be smaller than other schools with a capacity of around 600 students. They recruit from a broad range of abilities and social backgrounds whilst seeking to ensure a high level of technical aptitude and interest.

UTCs provide employers with 18-year-olds who are ideally placed to begin high-quality apprenticeships and other valuable technical careers. This is evidenced in their leaving destinations. In September 2018 some 2,000 18-year-olds left UTCs. 46% went on to university, of them, 74% started a degree course in STEM (the national average is 46%). Apprenticeship destinations for UTC students are outstanding in terms of quantity and quality. At 18, about 4 times the number of UTC leavers started an apprenticeship compared to the national average and over half of these were at higher or degree level. Only 3% were NEET (not in employment, education or training) compared with a national average of 8%. To illustrate the value of a UTC education, the Royal Navy has stated that it saves four years’ worth of naval training when putting students from UTCs through its Accelerated Apprenticeship programme.

UTCs now provide a high-quality education, are closing the skills gap and providing a credible technical pathway for students to a valuable technical career. We believe it is essential for the UK economy that we should prove that UTC concept, fill the UTCs and create more over the coming years.