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Proposed UTC could help secure Warrington's economic future

Warrington Borough Council say a new educational facility could help to secure the town’s economic future and skills’ needs.

The proposed Warrington University Technical College (UTC) would specialise in Engineering and Nuclear Technology, to address the skill shortages identified by the Skills Commission.

Sponsored by the University of Chester and supported by industry partners including United Utilities, Sellafield Ltd and Warrington Borough Council, the facility will be open to students from across the region.

Lynda Moore, deputy proctor at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester and chair of the Warrington UTC Steering Group, said: “Students at the UTC will follow a broad and balanced curriculum with specialisms in Engineering and Nuclear Technology.

“The curriculum will be shaped and determined by employers and partners which will enable students to be ‘work-ready.’ Experience of work is a central element of the curriculum. The curriculum content is determined and shaped through the partnership of employers and the University.

“For the economy of Warrington and its surroundings, the Warrington UTC would address existing skills shortages locally by providing a steady stream of well-qualified candidates to target employers’ needs and support sustained business growth.”

UTCs are a relatively new concept for 14-19 year-olds which offer technical courses and work related learning alongside academic studies.

A report published earlier this year by Warrington Skills Commission identified several sectors for potential growth, and nuclear and engineering were among those noted for particular attention.

The Commission also reported the need for young people to have employability skills such as problem solving, time management, and team working.

Councillor Terry O’Neill, Leader of Warrington Borough Council said: “Addressing the skills gap in the nuclear and engineering sectors is vital to help the growth of the town’s economy and fuel the needs of Warrington’s growing strength in these sectors. Warrington UTC will train, equip and prepare young people for careers in these sectors and fill new jobs in the town.”

Steve Park, managing director of Warrington & Co, Warrington’s partnership for driving growth, is working in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce on the delivery of the Skills Commission recommendations.

He said: “This is such a valuable opportunity to develop a bespoke curriculum which is responsive to the particular technical and employability skills required by employers in the town and across the North West.

“Warrington UTC will significantly help to develop our workforce of the future which will in turn attract greater investment to the borough and North West as employers will want to be based where the much needed skills are available.

“The Skills Commission looked at all the evidence and listened to those who reported their skills needs. The development of Warrington UTC, alongside other initiatives in the town seeks to actively respond to the evidence presented. Warrington UTC is about shaping our future”

Potential students and their parents/carers and members of the public are being invited to register their interest and support for the proposals for Warrington UTC, which, if approved, would open in September 2015. Please visit www.warringtonUTC.org for more information.

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