Employers do homework on new technical college

Pictured from left to right Alison Bettac, of Firth Rixson Ltd, Cllr Julie Dore, Sheffield City Council Leader, and Andrew Cropley, Executive Director, The Sheffield College.

Pictured from left to right Alison Bettac, of Firth Rixson Ltd, Cllr Julie Dore, Sheffield City Council Leader, and Andrew Cropley, Executive Director, The Sheffield College.

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EMPLOYERS have been briefed on the new Sheffield University Technical College, which will specialise in developing the technical skills of young people entering the advanced engineering and manufacturing and digital and new media sectors.

Backed by up to £10m of Government funding, the Sheffield UTC will be the first of its kind in Yorkshire and the Humber and is due to open to up to 600 students aged 14 to 19 in September 2013.

More than 100 employers attended a consultation event at Sheffield Town Hall, discussing how they will get involved in shaping a curriculum that would be tailored to industry needs.

Companies will influence all aspects of the project, including the curriculum and building design, in addition to providing work placements and sponsorship.

Staff will include trained teachers and those from technical backgrounds.

The Sheffield UTC application was initiated by Sheffield City Council and is being sponsored and led by Sheffield College with Sheffield Hallam University and Firth Rixson Ltd as co-sponsors.

It was approved to progress to the next stage by the Department for Education last month.

Details about the location, curriculum content and funding have not yet been formally approved.

Andrew Cropley, executive director of Sheffield College, said: “We are receiving a very good response from local and regional businesses, reflected in a strong turnout to the consultation.

“There’s still time for more employers to get involved, as we are planning another consultation in the New Year.”

Council leader Julie Dore said: “The Sheffield UTC will give businesses a new opportunity to train young people with the skills their industries need and we are delighted that Sheffield has been chosen as the first in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.”

Alison Bettac is group human resources and health and safety director at Firth Rixson, a leading component manufacturer within the aerospace and energy market.

It employs more than 900 staff in the UK, most of whom are based in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

She said: “We need more young people trained in job specific skills that match the needs of our business, so that we can grow. Getting involved with the Sheffield UTC offers us an exciting opportunity to achieve that.”

Employers from the advanced engineering and manufacturing, and creative and digital industries still have a chance to get involved in the initiative.

Another consultation is due to take place in the New Year. Email UTC@sheffcol.ac.uk.