Progress for proposed Swindon University Technical College

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


A new University Technical College (UTC) proposed for Swindon took one step closer to becoming reality this month.

A new University Technical College (UTC) proposed for Swindon took one step closer to becoming reality this month.

Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed to allocate up to £500,000 towards the possible site for a UTC and a formal bid has now been submitted to the Government.

Oxford Brookes is a sponsor for the proposed project alongside international high-tech firm Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells. A UTC will be implemented in Swindon if the town’s bid is successfully chosen by the Department for Education.

UTCs are a new concept in education and offer 14-19 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technically-oriented course of study. They are equipped to the highest standard, sponsored by a university and offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work.

Swindon’s UTC would offer qualifications towards engineering and business and as well as working with the two sponsors would also draw on resource and expertise from Swindon College.

As well as Johnson Matthey signing up to become a co-sponsor with Brookes, support has also been gained from employers including BMW, the Ministry of Defence, Honda, Intel, Halcrow, the Nationwide, Network Rail and Thames Water.

Edward Trewhella, managing the project for Oxford Brookes University, said: “Oxford Brookes is proud of its strong reputation for teaching excellence, links with business and industry and a commitment to ensuring good access and progression routes to higher education.

“It is exciting for the university to be at the forefront of an innovative initiative providing technical education which would be of such significant benefit to young people, employers and the economy.

“This development is intended to raise aspirations among young people in Swindon and the surrounding area, as well as enhancing our strong links with employers in the region.”

Dr Jack Frost, the director of Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, said: “We are delighted to be the main employer sponsor with Oxford Brookes University and to support this engineering college.

“We are excited about its future and confident that the Swindon UTC will develop and provide high quality engineers.”

“This example of vocational balance in education will prepare students for work in industry and will produce skilled engineers attractive to employers.”

An update on the success of the bid will be made available in the coming months. More information on UTCs can be found at www.utcolleges.org