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Angela Barker-Dench

Swindon University Technical College appoints first principal

Swindon’s new engineering academy has confirmed the appointment of its first principal.

Angela Barker-Dench will take on the role from September and lead the Swindon University Technical College during its set-up year and as it welcomes its first intake of students in September 2014.

Angela has experience of technical and vocational education having served as vice-principal at both Berkshire College of Agriculture and Capel Manor College in Enfield, where she currently works.

She also brings to the post expertise in liaison between vocational education, industry and higher education and started her career in engineering. 

She is also familiar with Swindon, having worked in a senior post at Swindon College.

UTC Swindon is a new concept in education which sees 14 to 19 year old students study engineering alongside a core academic curriculum.

The curriculum will be fully employer designed, integrating and transferring skills for work-readiness.

When she takes up her post, Angela will immediately start work on managing the opening of the college and ensuring that plans are fully in place for the first students who walk through the doors at the start of term in September 2014.

Work on enrolment of students is now beginning, with the first of a series of open meetings scheduled for 6.30pm on Thursday 11 July at Swindon’s STEAM Museum.

One of Angela’s key tasks next year will be to support students through their applications.

“It is a tremendous honour to be announced as the first principal of UTC Swindon,” said Angela.

“I am excited about the prospect of helping students to gain a high-quality education within a distinctive learning environment.

“UTC Swindon promises to be an exciting new concept in education which will provide 14 to 19 year olds with the skills and knowledge to progress on to university, apprenticeships and successful careers. I can’t wait to get started.”

Paul Inman, pro-vice chancellor for Oxford Brookes University and UTC Swindon director, said: “Having seen a particularly strong field of candidates, it was clear to the UTC Trust that Angela Barker-Dench was the right person for the job.

“The partners involved in the development of UTC Swindon have made significant progress to date and this latest announcement is an important step as we move closer to opening in September 2014.

“We look forward to Angela joining us for what is an exciting new educational facility which will produce the next generation of engineers.”

Paul Holmes, automation and mechanical design manager for Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and UTC Swindon director: “We are delighted to be offering Angela the position of Principal, as she has tremendous experience and expertise within education and engineering.

“UTC Swindon will create fantastic opportunities for young people, employers and industry and it is important that such an innovative development has strong and inspirational leadership.

“We are confident that Angela will take on the challenge of creating an exciting new educational facility for Swindon, Wiltshire and the wider region to be proud of.”