A former Home and Education Secretary who has gone on to spearhead the drive to introduce University Technical Colleges in England has been honoured by the University of Wolverhampton.
Lord Kenneth Bakerwas awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education at a ceremony on Tuesday 22 September at the city’s Grand Theatre.
The former Conservative MP held a variety of ministerial positions including the first Minister for Information Technology, in which he led the way on introducing computers into schools.
Later as Education & Science Secretary he went on to introduce the National Curriculum, Grant Maintained Schools, City Technology Colleges, and Student Loans for university students. He has also been a Local Government Minister; Environment Secretary, privatising BT and abolishing the Greater London Council; as well as Home Secretary.
Having served as Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lord Baker left the Government after the 1992 election and was appointed a Companion of Honour, going on to become a member of the House of Lords in 1997.
He co-founded of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, and spearheaded the initiative for University Technical Colleges (UTC) in the UK which has already seen the opening of 28 colleges, with an additional 30 planned for between 2015 and 2017.
These include two new UTCs supported by the University of Wolverhampton, the Health Futures UTC in West Bromwich and the West Midlands Construction UTC in Wolverhampton, which both opened this month.
Lord Baker visited the new £10m Health Futures campus before his ceremony, having a tour of the facilities and meeting staff and students. He then visited the site where the new West Midlands Construction UTC is being built in Wolverhampton.
Lord Baker said: “I am very honoured to have received a degree from the University of Wolverhampton because they have shown how important good practical technical education is.
“This University is supporting two of the new University Technical Colleges which opened this month – one is specialising in Health Sciences in West Bromwich and already has over 250 students whom I met in a visit before the ceremony and the second specialising in Construction IT will be based in a brand new purpose built building on the University’s campus at Springfield.
“The industries of health and construction need highly qualified technicians and engineers. So I not only thank the University of Wolverhampton but congratulate them on their far-sightedness in realising that this is the way to provide the skills needed for the jobs of the future.”
Lord Baker is also the Chairman of Edge Foundation, an educational charity championing technical, practical and vocational learning, and supporting the newly launched Career Colleges.
He has also authored several books, his most recent work, 14-18 A New Vision for Secondary Education, was published in 2013.
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