PLANS to open Leeds’ first university technical college (UTC) specialising in advanced manufacturing and engineering are being submitted to the Government.
UTCs are a new type of school for 14 to 18-year-olds which deliver a technical education focused on a particular career area.
The plan for the Leeds UTC is being backed by the city’s council and firms including Siemens, Kodak and Grant Thornton. The proposed new school, which could open in 2016, is also supported by Leeds University and Leeds City College.
A steering group has been working on the plans for the last six months and is now submitting a bid for Government funding.
It should find out if it is successful later this year. It is hoped the plan would meet skills shortages in Leeds and help employers to play a role in training a new generation of skilled engineers.
There are now 50 approved UTCs in the UK but there have not been many applications from Yorkshire.
If the Leeds UTC does go ahead it would be the first to open in West Yorkshire.
Yorkshire’s first UTC opened in Sheffield last year.
UTCs have two points of entry for pupils starting at 14 or at 16 after their GCSEs. For those starting at 14 it involves pupils and their parents making the decision to leave their existing secondary school to pursue a more focused and technical education.
However they would still study a core programme of GCSEs and then A-levels.
The proposal for a Leeds UTC focussing on advanced manufacturing and engineering is being led by a team including Kodak, Siemens, Unilever and Agfa, and supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the manufacturers organisation EEF, as well as Leeds University, Leeds City Council and Leeds City College, supported by business adviser Grant Thornton.
Simon Nadin from Siemens said: “With its strong manufacturing heritage, we believe there is a real need for a Leeds-based UTC.”