Parents of UTC students confident in their children’s job prospects

Thursday, 08 October 2015

UTC Swindon students

New research from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity that promotes University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that parents who have children studying at UTCs feel more positive about their children’s prospects.

Three quarters (70 per cent) said the UTC has made their child more confident in getting a job.  

85 per cent of parents believed the UTC was preparing their child for the world of work. This figure dropped to just 68 per cent when the same question was asked of parents with children at mainstream schools. Added to this, three quarters (75.86 per cent) of UTC parents believed their child knew what industry they want to work in compared with just half (53.8 per cent) of parents with children in mainstream schools.

Given its strong links with a wide range of industry partners, students at UTC Swindon are extremely well placed

Paul Inman, Chair of Governors at UTC Swindon and Pro Vice Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University

The survey also shows that for two thirds (66 per cent) of parents their biggest fear is that their child will not find a job when they leave education. Nearly half (48.1 per cent) of parents said they felt stressed about their child's education and 80 per cent of parents believed the education system needed to change to reflect 21st century working Britain.

The Baker Dearing Educational Trust surveyed over 1000 parents with teenagers at mainstream schools and, in a separate survey, 450 parents whose children attend UTCs.

UTC Swindon is run by a trust sponsored by Oxford Brookes University and Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells. There are over 90 different industry partners involved with the University Technical College.

UTC Swindon Principal, Angela Barker-Dench, commented: “When the idea to launch a UTC in Swindon was introduced, one of the main goals we wanted to achieve was to get the town’s young people work ready. Looking at these stats from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust it proves that we are very much on the right track. In any educational institution it is essential to have the backing and support of the parents to allow the students to flourish. To accomplish this they must be confident that the service we are providing is to the highest standard possible.”   

Paul Inman, Chair of Governors at UTC Swindon and Pro Vice Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, added: “From speaking with parents, we’re already well aware of the value that is placed on children securing good employment after they leave education. Given its strong links with a wide range of industry partners, students at UTC Swindon are extremely well placed in this regard. Learning is achieved through employer set projects which tackle real industry issues. This helps to ensure that those studying at UTC Swindon are going out into the world with experience and expertise which is particularly attractive to employers.”

The research showed that parents recognised the need for a more balanced education approach with three quarters (74.9 per cent) saying their children should have the option of a combined technical and academic education at 14. 

Nearlytwo thirds (64 per cent) of mainstream school parents said they wanted a greater variety of choice in the type of school for their child and 69 per cent said they wanted the option to select a technical education if it reflected their child’s talents. 

But parents are confused about the options available to children. Although more than half (55.30 per cent) of parents with children in mainstream schools felt well informed about academies, only two in five parents (41 per cent) felt informed about University Technical Colleges. However, when UTCs were explained to them 86 per cent of parents said they might consider a UTCfor their child if there was one available in their area.

Aerial image of UTC Swindon

Lord Baker, Chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said:

“These findings highlight the importance parents place on their children’s education and whether it gives them the qualifications and experience they need to secure a job. Although it’s early days, UTCs are playing an important role to ensure children get the education they need for the 21st century workplace. This is valued a great deal by parents and I’m delighted that so many would consider a UTC education for their children.”

To find about more about UTC Swindon, visit their open evening on Wednesday 21 October from 5.30pm to 7pm. The open evening will allow potential students to take a guided tour around UTC Swindon’s £10 million state-of-the-art Bristol Street site. On the tour, they’ll see light-filled workshops and classrooms that reflect the workplace, the College’s lecture theatre and a hub area where students can generate ideas, socialise and inspire others.

About UTC Swindon

Open since September 2014, UTC Swindon caters for 600 students aged 14 to 19. The college provides GCSE and A levels, BTEC qualifications in Engineering and IT are available for young people to study alongside both GCCE’s and A levels. Students in UTC Swindon’s sixth form can obtain the equivalent of five A levels which are accepted by universities. As well as qualifications students at the college gain skills demanded in all sectors of the engineering and business, so alongside good work placements should support a successful career.

As part of the original Great Western Rail works, the UTC Swindon site creates a link between the engineering history and the engineering and computing future of the local area, with the Old School Building and the iconic Water Tower featuring prominently. Both structures, which are Grade II listed, were treated sympathetically, with the Water Tower being restored and brought back into educational use.

For more information, visit or call UTC Swindon on 01793 207920.