The class of 2017 who will leave UTC Norfolk this summer are destined for some of the most sought-after and attractive apprenticeships available – and it is the UTC’s unique links with employers that are paving the way for such outstanding progression for students.
Confirmed destinations for this year’s 68 sixth form leavers include apprenticeships with leading employers such as Jaguar Land Rover, National Grid, Royal Navy and the BBC. In some cases, the outgoing students can look forward to starting salaries that are comparable to, or above, those of many graduate jobs.
Chloe Harris, 18, who was offered an apprenticeship position with Jaguar Land Rover said:
I applied for the position because of the company’s reputation and the excellent high level job prospects available on completion – plus it is a great opportunity to get paid to study up to master’s degree level. Before studying at UTC Norfolk, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but my time here has really helped me decide my future my career path – I would definitely recommend it to others with an interest in this area.
Continuing the trend set by UTC Norfolk’s first ever set of graduating students in 2016, around half of the sixth form leavers are destined for engineering apprenticeships and half for degrees in engineering and science-related courses at university.
These destination figures are significant because a key rationale for UTC Norfolk, which opened in September 2014, is to address skills shortages in engineering, advanced manufacturing, the energy industry and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)based careers.
A key factor in the high progression rate to quality engineering-related apprenticeships has been the unique approach to working with employers that has helped shape what UTC Norfolk students learn.
Leading employers from a wide range of STEM employers representing sectors such as off-shore, aviation, automotive and construction have joined UTC Norfolk’s Industry Liaison Group (ILG) to shape the work of the UTC in preparing its students to become the engineers and scientists of the future.
The ILG continuously reviews the UTC’s curriculum – which combines practical engineering study with learning in core academic subjects at GCSE and A Level – to ensure it is relevant to the world of work and keeps pace with the latest developments in industry.
The employers on the ILG are clear that students’ destinations after they leave UTC Norfolk are every bit as important as the qualifications they achieve through their studies. To support this focus on future employment, the ILG members work with UTC Norfolk to offer opportunities for students to meet and work alongside employers on a regular basis.
One very successful vehicle for this has been the UTC’s regular series of Core Projects, which see employers set students a project, usually lasting 5-6 weeks, which mirrors scenarios they will encounter working in industry.
Alex Hayes, Principal, UTC Norfolk, said:
We are fortunate to have the support and active involvement of brilliant employers who share our vision of creating the next generation of engineers and scientists. By regularly coming into the UTC, talking to our students, and working alongside them on Core Projects, these employers have given our students a realistic understanding of the opportunities that are out there for them.
We are not talking about oil and rags and the heavy industrial engineering jobs of the past, but attractive, rewarding, well-paid jobs in high technology sectors. In many cases entry to these jobs is through highly competitive, sought-after apprenticeships. We are delighted that so many of our students have been successful in securing great apprenticeships, as well as places at many leading universities for engineering, as their next step after UTC Norfolk.
Yvonne Mason, Group Managing Director, SafeSTS, and a Governor at UTC Norfolk, commented:
We are very fortunate to have the support of a number of headline companies in the region representing a good cross section of developing sectors which require engineering skills to enhance their future workforce. These companies offer regional, national and, in a number of cases, international opportunities. As they win contracts, we in turn can help them to identify students who are well placed to meet the skills requirements of the future.
The 30 plus ILG group membership are actively working with our students and, in this way, we can help them visualise and understand what we do in industry and how they could prepare for their future careers. The outcomes for our member companies are numerous but include access to a large pool of focussed students whose key ambition is to develop their engineering skills and give themselves the best possible chance of finding their place of work or further study with ease. By supporting students in this way, savings can also be made in both training and employment costs accordingly, as students will be better prepared for life in the workplace.
Working alongside The Mason Trust’s ICANBEA website (ICANBEA.org.uk), which is supported by over 200 companies, we are ensuring the students have full visibility of where their future could lie. The Mason Trust has also supported a number of applications for training funds where these have not been fully met by industry.
For more information about UTC Norfolk, please visit: www.utcn.org.uk