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The first intake at the new UTC Swindon

Engineering college opens its doors for business

UTC Swindon, the university technical college that lets 14 to 18 year olds combine academic subjects with technical and practical learning in areas such as engineering, manufacturing, medical technology and biomedical and environmental science, has opened its doors for the first time this on Tuesday.

The £10m facility was built on the site of the original Great Western Rail Works, and historic features have been incorporated ingot he design.

The industry-backed institution is co-sponsored by Swindon-based Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Oxford Brookes University.

One hundred and twenty five teenagers have signed up for courses – just nine of them girls. Eventually the college will be able to teach 300 students.

Principal Angela Barker-Dench said: “It is gratifying to see everything finally come together after a year of hard work. Watching all the excited students walk through the doors at UTC Swindon for the first ever time was a moment that filled everyone involved with pride.

“Working with the Baker Dearing Educational Trust has been a privilege. They helped and supported us every step of the way towards this goal. UTC Swindon will give students the foundations to build fantastic careers by giving them the skills industry is crying out for.”

Lord Kenneth Baker, chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which promotes the concept of university technical colleges, said: “I am delighted to see a further 13 UTCs opening this month, taking the number of UTCs open to 30. These innovative schools produce highly skilled young people who are desperately needed to further the economic growth of our country.

“The UTC movement is expanding rapidly with the backing of the government and industry support. Of all the new schools opening in England, only UTCs specifically aim to fill the skills gaps in our economy. We want to see as many UTCs as there were grammar schools at their peak.”