New University Technology College for the West Midlands.

A new multi million pound University Technical College (UTC) for young people in the West Midlands will open in September 2014 following approval of a bid by the Department for Education.

Sponsored by CITB – ConstructionSkills (the lead sponsor), the University of Wolverhampton and Walsall College, the West Midlands UTC will transform opportunities for 14-19 year olds in the region to undertake full-time, practical, vocational and technical studies in a wide range of specialist skills that will help prepare them for a career in the construction industry.

With the active support of a number of high profile construction industry partners including Wilmott Dixon, Balfour Beattie, Morgan Sindall and Lovell, Hewden Stewart and Barhale Construction, the college will offer a curriculum based upon construction and the built environment as well as the use of information technology, sustainability and green technologies.

It will be uniquely placed to deliver a high quality curriculum that meets the need of students and industry.

The bid for this state of the art college was one of 45 that went through the stringent bidding process overseen by the Department of Education, of which 15 have been successfully chosen to move forward and create UTCs.

The new UTC will be based on land at the former Sneyd Community School in Walsall, on the same site as the Black County UTC, which opened in 2011.

Welcoming the news, Nigel Donohue, Head of Business Development Services at CITB-ConstructionSkills said: “This is great news for the West Midlands. We made a strong bid to the Department for Education which has clearly been recognised.

“The UTC will broaden the education and career opportunities for 14 – 19 year olds and provide a solid foundation for them to build a career in construction.

“Importantly the UTC will offer the construction industry the opportunity to support learners through a curriculum which meets their current and future needs and ensures the best opportunity for progression into employment through the apprenticeship or graduate route and helps deliver a high quality workforce delivering some of our iconic national and international projects.”

Professor Sir Geoff Hampton, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton said: “We are thrilled to receive the go ahead. As the UTC starts to operate, it will transform the prospects for numerous young people and provide a boost to the economy of the region.

“The University will be working very closely with the UTC to provide a broad range of courses with the aim of providing more opportunities.

“We are delighted to be working with CITB and forging even closer links to the construction industry. It will result in an educational step change in the area.

“We will work to develop the UTC as an outstanding centre of excellence for construction education.”

Jatinder Sharma, Principal and Chief Executive of Walsall College said: “All of us at the college are excited about this decision and we will be playing a full part in making sure that the UTC achieves its full potential.

“We will provide leadership in educational development, curriculum design and staff development to ensure that UTC students can progress into higher skill level employment or higher education.”

ENDS

Notes:

1. University Technical Colleges offer 14 -19 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technically orientated course of study. They are equipped to the highest standards with the support of a sponsor university and other partners. They offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning and development in employment.

2. The West Midlands Construction UTC bid went through stringent examination process. The approvals committee at the Department for Education considered 45 bids.

For more information please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003

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