Derby’s University Technical College gets the go-ahead to start a new chapter and join top academy trust

Friday 6th December 2019

Derby’s University Technical College gets the go-ahead to start a new chapter and join top academy trust

Derby’s University Technical College has been given the official go-ahead to start a new chapter and expand on its work to create a talent pipeline for the region’s top employers.

Now known as UTC Derby Pride Park, the technical school for 13 to 19-year-olds, which specialises in engineering, has joined one of the best performing institutions for university technical colleges in the country, The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust.

The move has been officially approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner for the East Midlands, and the Department for Education, this week on December 1st. From September 2020, UTC Derby Pride Park will offer a second technical specialism in life sciences and also recruit younger students from the age of 13 into Year 9.

Richie Wheatcroft, Principal, UTC Derby Pride Park, said: “We play a pivotal role in the local economy by training a talent pipeline of highly skilled young people, offering them great career opportunities and maximising on the city’s world leading strengths in the aerospace, automotive and rail industries.”

He explained: “The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust has a strong track record of success and joining it marks a really exciting new chapter for our students and staff, as well as all of the employers and partner organisations supporting us.”

He added: “We’re also thrilled to be able to work with the University of Derby and the NHS and offer a second life sciences specialism to prepare students for opportunities in the biomedical and related scientific fields from September 2020.”

UTC Derby Pride Park is backed by some of world’s best known companies including Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and Toyota as well as the University of Derby and Derby College.

The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust is at the forefront of UTC developments across England with two of the best performing UTCs nationally, both Ofsted graded ‘good’.

Nick Crew, Executive Principal, The Sheffield UTC Academy Trust, added: “We run two successful UTCs and are pleased to share our expertise so that more young people in Derby and the East Midlands can get the high level technical skills that employers need.”

UTCs are technical schools backed by top employers that have been set up to train the next generation of young people in the skills that their regional economy needs. They usually focus on one or two technical specialisms.

Students learn from industry experts in specialist high tech facilities and complete GCSEs and A Levels as well as technical qualifications that are equivalent to between one and three A Levels. Employers support the curriculum by setting industry projects and providing work experience and placements.

The engineering specialism at UTC Derby Pride Park has been developed with global employers and has already helped students progress to high quality apprenticeships and places on top engineering courses at universities around the UK.

Last year’s students went on to some of the best universities in the country including the University of Leeds, University of Nottingham and University of York, and highly sought-after apprenticeships at Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and SNC-Lavalin.

Andy Davies, Learning Delivery Manager at Rolls-Royce, works with the UTC to ensure students can develop key industry skills, knowledge and behaviours, and he is supported by the Educational Outreach Team at Rolls-Royce.

Andy said: “The UTC is vital to the future of Derby. As an employer, we’re looking for enthusiastic, switched-on people who can think independently and work effectively in a team environment. It’s great to see early career talent developing within the UTC, which is a positive thing for the industry in the region.”

He added: “For me, the employer projects are the unique selling point of the UTC. They bring the curriculum to life for the students, and you see the students starting to use what they’ve learnt in an industry context. The students also develop numerous soft skills which can range from teamwork and time management to working with customers and building relationships, like you would in a workplace.”