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New technical schools unveiled

06/08/2014 Joanna
Technical education is set to receive a boost after plans were unveiled for seven new university technical colleges (UTCs) and four new studio schools.

Over 5,000 places will be made available for 14 to 19-year-olds when the schools reach full capacity. The institutions will offer a more technical or vocational-based education using curricula developed in conjunction with universities and employers.

More than 40 major national and local firms are to work with the new schools, including Jaguar Land Rover, Dyson and Kew Botanical Gardens, while seven universities are to collaborate with the new UTCs.

The latest announcement means space will be available for 50,000 young people at UTCs or studio schools, allowing them to train for careers that are crucial to the economy, such as engineering and science.

South Durham UTC, at Newton Aycliffe, is scheduled to open in 2016. Supported by Hitachi Rail Europe and Gestamp Tallent, in partnership with the University of Sunderland, it will specialise in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Another approved institution is Grange Studio School in Bristol. Due to open in 2015, it will help to develop skills in high tech, advanced engineering and creative and digital industries.

Chancellor George Osborne said the new institutions are "part of the government's long-term economic plan".

"The new colleges will provide the next generation of British workers with the skills they need to secure the high-tech jobs of the future," he added.

"This is an excellent example of how we are delivering a sustainable and resilient recovery by laying the foundations for a brighter economic future for the UK."

UTCs first opened in 2010, integrating academic study with practical learning, teaching core GCSEs alongside technical qualifications. 

Local universities and employers are involved in formulating the curricula of such schools, ensuring they meet the employment needs of the region.

More than 50 different universities, including eight Russell Group institutions, are now involved in sponsoring the 17 UTCs open and 40 now in development.

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