Six UTC principals joined Robert Halfon MP, chair of the Education Select Committee, last week. They took part in the virtual meeting to discuss strides UTCs are making as the Education Select Committee conducts an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on education and children’s services.
“University Technical Colleges have a vital role to play supporting young people, employers and the economy’s long-term recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” says Nick Crew, Executive Principal of the Sheffield UTC Academy Trust.
“We are proud of what we are achieving in Sheffield City Region, training young people in the high level technical and employability skills that employers need for growth. This is a critical time given current technical skills shortages and wider challenges facing the economy, and it was good to share our experiences at a national level with the committee,” he added.
Principals from Ron Dearing UTC, JCB Academy, Energy Coast UTC, South Durham UTC and Activate Learning Education Trust, which represents Reading, Heathrow, Swindon and Oxfordshire UTCs, also joined the call, alongside Baker Dearing Chair Lord Baker.
The Principals discussed the differences between UTCs and traditional schools, how staff and students have adapted to online learning during the pandemic and how the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills UTC students specialise in will be in greater demand in future.
Lord Baker, Chair of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said: “UTCs offer choice for many young people, by providing a unique approach to education which meets the changing needs of students and employers in the 21st Century. Indeed, the Covid-19 crisis has reminded us all of the value of STEM-related practical skills.”
He continued: “Where would our country be without the capabilities of scientists and technicians, and the ingenuity of engineering and digital professionals? UTCs nurture an interest in and passion for all aspects of STEM. As economies adjust to the ‘new normal’ following the Covid-19 crisis, UTCs have never been more relevant in building the skills this country needs.”