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Preston’s technical college plan could be back on the table

Posted on - 1st February, 2017 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, Politics, Preston City Centre, UCLan
The technical college would have offered industry-backed technical courses
The technical college would have offered industry-backed technical courses

Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of millions of pounds of funding for technical colleges could signal a new opening for Preston.

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The PM announced the government is investing £170million in institutes of technology – meaning Preston’s dedicated tech college could be back on the table.

Senior managers at the University of Central Lancashire tabled a £10m bid for a University Technical College in the city centre back in 2014 – but were snubbed by the government.

UCLan has not ruled out a new bid following the PM’s announcement.

Deputy vice-chancellor (Academic) Dr Lynne Livesey said: “The UTC proposal for Preston had the potential to add value to the current provision by providing an opportunity for young people to engage in applied education particularly relevant to local employers needs whilst also achieving excellent academic qualifications, enabling them to study for degrees and higher qualifications.

“While this was not supported in the original competitive cycle, with other regions being favoured for the investment, it is something that we keep under review.

“We retain strong links with UTCs and the Baker Dearing Trust as well as the networks that put together the proposal for Preston. We remain open to considering future developments and partnerships that could help to meet the needs of pupils and employers alike.”

The UTC bid was a joint proposal with Preston City Council and had plans drawn up to operate from the Guild House on the corner of Cross Street and Winckley Square.

The Guild University Technical College on Winckley Square
The Guild University Technical College on Winckley Square

A new home would need to be found for the UTC if a bid went back in as the Guild House is due to be sold off to Manchester-based development firm Ladson Group.

The UTC would take in learners aged 14 to 19 who wanted to gain qualifications in civil engineering, construction, architecture and design.

Read more: Preston’s College sees standards slip in latest Ofsted report

Mrs May announced in late January her plan for education.

She said: “Mrs May said: “Our modern industrial strategy is a critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain.

“Our action will help ensure young people develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.

“That means boosting technical education and ensuring we extend the same opportunity and respect we give university graduates to those people who pursue technical routes.”

What do you think about the University Technical College idea? Let us know in the comments below

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