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Council and university make £10 million bid to create new Preston technical college

Posted on - 8th October, 2013 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, UCLan
The University Technical College would offer courses backed by industry

The University Technical College would offer courses backed by industry

A technical college with no homework for students could open in Preston.

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Known as a University Technical College, a £10 million bid by Preston City Council and the University of Central Lancashire, could see the college open in September 2015.

The academy would take in students aged 14 to 19 who want to learn about civil engineering, construction, architecture and design.

A funding bid to the Department of Education has been tabled for the city-centre based college to be created, and the city council saying the CityDeal success helps their case.

Councillor Peter Rankin, leader of the city council, said: “Over the next 10 years Preston and Lancashire is set for major economic growth, construction and development. The opportunities are tremendous, but we need to help young people get the skills required to meet this demand and build successful careers for the future.

“We are looking at 20,000 new jobs, 17,420 new homes and over £1billion added to the local economy so we have to start planning for the future now. The University Technical College led by UCLan is a great place to start.”

The location of the college is yet to be confirmed but the city council have indicated the old Post Office building could be an option.

Cllr Rankin said:  “We would love to see the old post office building back into use. It’s a lovely and important building right in the heart of the city centre. We have had some private sector interest in the building and the University have looked at it to see whether it might be an option for their proposed technical college.

“But it is a listed building which means it is not straight forward to convert and it is in need of significant investment, so I think we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“It will come down to whether the bid is accepted and also whether the University feels the old post office building is the right building for them. Whatever building may be chosen, the new technical college would bring new life and vitality into the city centre so as bid partners, we very much hope it is successful.”

The University of Central Lancashire is the lead sponsor backing the creation of the college, alongside the Visions Learning Trust and Training 2000.

Rod Dubrow-Marshall Pro Vice-Chancellor at UCLan added: “UCLan has a fantastic reputation and track record in academic excellence. We are one of the biggest universities in the UK and a destination of choice for many thousands of young people to study and start their careers.

“Preston is a perfect place for a new University Technical College. It is the engine for economic growth in Lancashire and beyond, even more so now with the £400M city deal that is planned.

“That’s why we want to bring our experience, skills, abilities and academic clout into establishing a new technical college in the city. It is a wonderfully exciting project to be involved with and we are putting in every effort into making the bid successful.”

The technical college is a new breed of schooling, it focuses on industry-created courses and has a longer school day and year.

There are 44 other technical colleges in operation across the UK, which claim 100% of leavers continuing in education or going into employment or training.

Babs Murphy from the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “We are right behind this bid as it is exactly what employers are crying out for. There is a skills gap which will only get wider if we don’t do something about it now.

“New businesses, offices, homes, roads and infrastructure will all be built in the Preston area over the next 10 years. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s workers and we have a duty to provide them with the support and skills necessary to capitalise on future economic growth and the jobs that will be created.”

A decision on whether the funding will be given is due in February next year, and the college would open for students in September 2015.

A website has been set up to explain what the Preston Technical College would be like.

What do you think of the technical college bid? Would you study there? Or send your children there? Let us know your views in the comments below

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