Justine Greening MP visited UTC Oxfordshire yesterday (17 October) to meet its staff and students.
The Secretary of State for Education toured the UTC’s specialist science and engineering facilities and met students to hear about why they chose to join the UTC and their experiences of it so far.
The visit to UTC Oxfordshire came about after local MP, Ed Vaizey, spoke out in praise of UTC Oxfordshire during a session at the House of Commons last week. Ed joined Justine on her visit to the UTC.
Justine said: “I think UTC Oxfordshire is fantastic for young people in and around Didcot, who have now got this brilliant new choice in terms of their education. I also think it’s great for employers. The best scenario is one where employers get the skills they need for their future workforce and young people get the chance to build great careers. The UTC is an inspiring way to bring those two things together.
“The UTC model recognises that every young person needs different things from their education. They’re interested in different things and we need an education system that really caters for that. The UTC provides a very different offer for the pupils here, which they would otherwise not have been able to get.
“We’ve made some great steps forward on our academic route over the last six years, but this is about diversity and choice. UTCs are about providing an option for the many young people who want to pursue a route in their education that’s more technical in nature, and UTCs can be a big part of how we do that.”
Year 11 student Elliot Harvey told Justine about his experience of studying at the UTC. He said: "I joined the UTC in Year 10 and am now in my second year. It’s exceeded my expectations and I’m so glad I made the move. We’re treated like adults and have a very mature relationship with our teachers.
“When I leave I want to work in motorsport as a race technician, and I’ve managed to get work experience with Williams Racing while I’ve been at the UTC. This is something I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I’d gone to school elsewhere."
Speaking about Justine’s visit to the UTC, Year 10 student Victoria Bateman said: “In my previous school we didn’t have much of a connection with people outside the school environment. It’s great that we have days like today at UTC Oxfordshire and we’ve already had a lot of visitors since the start of term from local employers as well.”
Owain Johns, Principal of UTC Oxfordshire, said: "The Secretary of State for Education’s visit today provided us with a great opportunity to showcase everything we’ve achieved since opening just over a year ago. We were delighted by how eager our students were to get involved and explain to Justine why they decided to join the UTC.
“We hope today has helped to demonstrate the importance of UTCs in providing young people with the skills needed to meet the demands of local employers. Our specialisms in science and engineering, along with our strong links with industry, will ensure our students are highly employable and ready for the working world when they leave education.”
On her tour of the UTC, Justine also spoke to Richard Noble OBE, Project Director of BLOODHOUND SSC, and two engineering students who demonstrated the UTC’s 3D printing. At the end of the visit, Justine took away an example of the students’ work that had been created with a 3D printer.