gradient overlay

Baker Award for technical education students relaunched in Parliament

A group of people sat around a table in Parliament discussing the Baker Award

The Baker Award which recognises England’s best technical education students has been relaunched in Parliament with the support of the education sector and industry.

Ten leading employers met with political supporters and leaders of the University Technical College programme on Monday 20th November to explore how the awards can best support industry needs and students’ career ambitions.

Baker Award stringently assesses student performance 

The Baker Award is open to learners from the age of 14 (year 9 onwards) who wish to prepare for, and demonstrate their readiness for, a future career in industry or further technical study.

To win the award, students must demonstrate competencies including:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Using resources effectively
  • Communication
  • Using technical/work-based practices
  • Taking responsibility and demonstrating perseverance

Students must also take part in work experience for ten days, participate in at least 3 employer-led projects, take a technical/employer-related qualification, and be able to articulate their future career plans.

Each of these tasks is evidenced and assessed, including through an interview with an external assessor, emphasising the stringent awarding criteria and high-quality bar of the Baker Award.

UTC leaders discuss positive impact of Baker Award

Monday’s event brought together representatives from education and business to widen the support base for the Baker Award, which has been running for ten years.

A lively discussion about the award was chaired by former education secretary and Baker Dearing trustee Baroness Estelle Morris.

Fellow trustee and former principal of The JCB Academy Jim Wade discussed the relaunch and explained the value of the award to students and industry. Former principal of The Leigh UTC and now Baker Dearing senior adviser Steve Leahey told attendees about his experience of the award and how it has bound recipients together.

Steve Coleby, head of capability at leading aerospace training provider Marshalls Skills Academy, spoke on behalf of employers about the need for the technical and professional skills that are recognised by the Baker Award.

Relaunched award set to roll out in Autumn 2024 

Attendees then took part in a Q&A, discussing how to ensure the award is accessible to a broad demographic of students and that it is compatible with T Levels.

The meeting concluded with a conversation about next steps including the establishment of a pilot group of schools to deliver the relaunched award in the autumn term of 2024. This would be ahead of a national rollout, led by a steering group which would eventually detach from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and be administered by an external vehicle, led by industry. 

Baker Dearing Educational Trust chairman Lord Baker commented: 

“It was excellent to speak with such an energised group of employers, politicians, and educators about how we can promote technical education while recognising students’ excellence. 

“There is a real drive to make the Baker Award as well-respected and accessible as possible for students across England and we made good progress during Monday’s meeting. 

“The Baker Award is highly valued in the UTC network and with the support of our industry partners, it can celebrate many more gifted technical education students across the country.” 

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler, whose constituency includes Aylesbury UTC and attended the lunch, commented: 

“As a committed supporter of technical education, it was a real privilege to be involved in Monday’s discussion.  

“I have seen excellence in technical education from the students at Aylesbury UTC and understand how high-quality, industry led education can boost young peoples’ life opportunities. 

“So I am thrilled that the Baker Award is being relaunched and I will continue my support as the initiative moves forward.”