Government gives green light to UTC Swindon
Thursday, 25 July 2013
UTC Swindon took a momentous step forward today with the Department for Education (DfE) officially giving the educational institution the green light.
The DfE’s confirmation of its Funding Agreement represents the last significant step required as part of the development of UTC Swindon.
The announcement will see a £10m capital investment with which to construct the University Technical College’s home in the heart of Swindon’s rich engineering heritage.
The Government’s commitment will also provide the on-going year-on-year budget to run the new educational institution, which is co-sponsored by Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Oxford Brookes University.
This important development formalises the contract between UTC Swindon and the Government to run the state-funded engineering academy and gives the go ahead for UTC Swindon to enrol students ahead of its official opening in September 2014.
Paul Holmes, Automation and Mechanical Design Manager for Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and UTC Swindon Director, said: “This announcement is a historic moment for UTC Swindon and represents the final approval from the Department for Education to progress to opening. UTC Swindon will be an innovative new educational facility in engineering and technology, set in a stunning building design, carefully blended in an historic setting.
“This will provide young people in the region with a fantastic opportunity to gain highly desirable skills, to meet future employers’ demands and raise aspirations in progressing their careers. We have already received strong interest from students and parents about joining UTC Swindon and being a part of its future. We look forward to being able to share the vision and provide more detail at the various events and open evenings planned over the coming months”
Paul Inman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Oxford Brookes University and UTC Swindon Director, added: “We have reached a significant milestone in our journey towards producing the next generation of highly-skilled engineers.
“Importantly, construction can now begin and we are extremely grateful to Network Rail for the opportunity to site the building on the original Great Western Rail Works. Those attending UTC Swindon will have the chance to build on this legacy and we look forward to welcoming our first students in September 2014.”
The DfE announcement follows months of hard work to get everything in place, including arrangements for the premises leased on Network Rail’s land on Bristol Street. This follows on from the success of the UTC Swindon’s building proposal at Swindon Borough Council’s Planning Committee earlier this month (9 July).
The design for the premises is both iconic and unique, providing a state-of-the-art high tech college campus where students will be able to study engineering in a modern, clean industrial environment.
The architects have blended design ideas from the 19th Century heritage of railway engineering with forward looking 21st century designs for engineering applications of the future.
Many UTCs opening elsewhere in the country are in converted school buildings; Swindon’s will be uniquely built in a modern industrial setting.
The designs were the result of extensive consultations between the sponsors and BAM Construction. The challenge was to design capacity which also preserves all the heritage features. As part of these, the water tower which is a well-known landmark will be restored and used as part of the engineering curriculum.
The UTC Swindon team is attending many large events throughout the summer, sharing information about the University Technical College which opens in September 2014. Would-be students can apply now by calling 07990 601516 or by visiting www.utcswindon.co.uk