Technical skills college in Leeds moves a step closer

An artist's impression of the planned UTC Leeds.
An artist's impression of the planned UTC Leeds.
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The arrival of a new university technical college for West Yorkshire - which it is hoped will tackle a major skills shortage in manufacturing - will move a step closer today.

Plans for the new UTC Leeds, which is expected to open in September 2016, were due to be debated by Leeds council’s City Plans Panel at a Civic Hall meeting today.

The college will combine GCSEs and A-levels with technical qualifications in specific industry areas, with pupils able to join either at 14 or at 16 after their GCSEs.

Employers will help deliver lessons and, alongside the University of Leeds, Kodak, Unilever, Agfa Graphics and Siemens are among the big name businesses backing the project.

The Plans Panel will today be presented with a detailed position statement from developer BAM Construction Ltd, which is hoping to convert part of the Grade II listed Braimes metal pressing factory site on Hunslet Road.

A report to the panel says the college will form part of the city’s South Bank regeneration “vision” and that it is hoped a specialist engineering school at the site could encourage the building of family housing in the city centre and the Aire Valley area.

The college will sit as part of an emerging educational cluster which also includes the new Ruth Gorse Academy and expanded Leeds City College and Leeds College of Building campuses.

As reported previously by the YEP, UTC Leeds will specialise in engineering and manufacturing and has a catchment area across the Leeds City Region, taking in Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Selby, Wakefield and York.

Earlier this year the UTC had a £9.5m funding agreement signed off by the Government. Mark Kennedy has already been appointed principal designate.