Flagship Leeds college gets go ahead

Lord Baker visits a UTC. PIC:Ben Parsons
Lord Baker visits a UTC. PIC:Ben Parsons
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A PLAN for a new university technical college (UTC) in Leeds to ensure the city has future generations of skilled engineers has been given the go ahead by ministers.

The new school for 14 to 18-year-olds will now open its doors in the city in 2016 and will eventually have 600 students.

UTCs provide a focused technical education alongside traditional academic subjects. Each one focuses on a particular industry area. The Leeds UTC will focus on manufacturing and engineering.

The project has been led by major employers including Kodak UK, Agfa, Unilever, Siemens and Grant Thornton. It also has the backing of Leeds City Council, Leeds University, Leeds City College and the city’s chamber of commerce.

Phil Ball, managing director of Kodak UK and the Leeds UTC steering group chairman, said: “This really is great news for Leeds and the start of a new journey for education provision in the city. The manufacturing sector faces a crisis as it prepares to replace skills which are set to be lost due to retirements over the next decade, at the same time we are seeing renewed confidence from companies seeking to invest in our region. If we are to service this demand then we have to take steps to address these skills challenges.”

The leader of Leeds City Council, Coun Keith Wakefield, said: “Advanced manufacturing and engineering are specialisms identified as a priority for Leeds City Region and a key employment sector in the local economy.”

Sir Alan Langlands, vice-chancellor of Leeds University, said: “Engineering and advanced manufacturing is one of the most dynamic and important sectors of the economy in the Leeds City Region. It is vital that we equip young people - boys and girls - with the skills they need for employment in this sector.” With Leeds University’s backing, the Leeds UTC is only the second one in the country to have the support of a member of the elite Russell Group of universities.

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