Ministers must not abandon UTCs

Negative headlines about those University Technical Colleges that have closed must not frighten ministers into abandoning a programme that is proving life-changing for some students, says David Harbourne

I was recently contacted by a second-year journalism student at Sheffield University. His name is Oliver. He knew I was writing a book about University Technical Colleges and asked if he could interview me for an article he was writing.

I remembered Oliver. I met him when I visited the JCB Academy in Staffordshire. I was researching my book – University Technical Colleges: The first ten years – and arranged to meet a group of year 13 students to hear their views on the UTC curriculum, links with employers, and where they thought they would be in 10 years’ time.

Two were applying for engineering apprenticeships, another had been offered a business apprenticeship at JCB’s nearby factory, and a fourth hoped to join the Royal Navy.

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