Thousands of students in Surrey will be trained to become cyber security experts at a new college backed by technology giants, Schools Minister Lord Nash announced today (11 March 2015).
The Guildford university technical college (UTC) will train up to 720 14- to 19-year-olds in cyber security, computer science and engineering, with students gaining valuable technical qualifications alongside studying core academic GCSEs and A levels, such as English and maths.
As society increasingly depends on digital services, the need for young people with the skills to design systems to protect information online, defend networks from attacks and prevent the loss of valuable data is growing.
This demand has led to local employers backing the creation of a new UTC to address this shortfall in skills.
The UTC will work with CGI, a global IT firm, technology and engineering giants BAE Systems and Babcock International, industrial gases specialists Air Products, and other local employers to give students the best possible preparation for working life or further study. Royal Holloway, University of London, will also work with students as the university sponsor. The UTC will also work with alongside Surrey county council, the Guildford Education Partnership and Guildford College.
Surrey is one of the fastest-growing regions of the country and is the base for a number of high-profile technology employers, with many specialising in computer science and engineering.
Schools Minister Lord Nash announced the college alongside a visit to Guildford College, which is helping to set up the UTC.
Equipping young people with the skills they need to secure great jobs is a key part of our plan for education - resulting in the lowest level on record of young people not in education, employment or training.
Guildford UTC will provide Surrey with generations of skilled cyber security, engineering and computer science experts. It is a perfect example of how we are placing technical education on a par with academic learning, while helping our thriving economy to flourish.
UTCs harness the talents of students, offering them hands-on learning alongside their GCSEs and A levels, to provide them with the technical knowledge and skills that employers demand.
Professor Paul Hogg, Vice Principal and Dean of Science at Royal Holloway, said:
We are delighted to be a founding member of Surrey’s first university technical college and are looking forward to contributing our world-leading expertise in cyber security and computer science.
In this digital age, governments, businesses and individuals are facing more cyber attacks than ever before, putting confidential information at risk. As the world celebrates the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in Runnymede, home to Royal Holloway, this year we are reminded of these modern threats to our freedom and personal liberty.
At the new UTC, some of Royal Holloway’s brightest minds will inspire young people from across the UK, helping them to develop skills that will directly benefit the country as it faces these new and complex challenges.
UTCs, the first of which opened in 2010, offer students a technical education using curricula developed in partnership with universities and employers. Students gain technical qualifications alongside core academic GCSEs, ensuring they develop the skills needed in a particular region or sector while preparing young people for life in modern Britain.
More than 10,000 pupils have benefited from attending UTCs and studio schools since they first opened in 2010 - highlighting the government’s commitment to ensuring world-class technical education.
The government has opened and plans to open more than 60 UTCs across the country, a number of which are in the south-east. These include:
UTC Reading is sponsored by Oxford & Cherwell Valley College Group and Reading University. The UTC aims to become a world-class centre of excellence in computer science and engineering education. Students receive a high level of support from locally based national and international organisations, such as Microsoft, CISCO, Peter Brett Assoc LLP and Network Rail.
Buckinghamshire UTC is sponsored by Buckinghamshire New University, Taylor Wimpey Plc, Cisco Systems Ltd and Aylesbury College. It plans to reach to full capacity in 2016 with 600 pupils (120 in years 10 and 11, and 180 in years 12 and 13). The UTC specialises in construction and IT.
The Leigh UTC in Dartford
The Leigh UTC specialises in engineering and computer science, and will cater for 600 students when full. It is part of the Leigh Academies Trust, and the curriculum and ethos are codesigned with the University of Greenwich and with local employers including Eurostar, Kenard Engineering and CSB Logistics.
UTCs in the pipeline
Medway UTC in Chatham
Medway UTC will cater for 600 students and specialise in engineering and construction. It is sponsored by the University of Greenwich and BAE Systems, working with MidKent College, Medway Council and a range of other employers including BAM Construction and the Royal School of Military Engineers.
UTC@harbourside in Newhaven
Based in Newhaven, the UTC will cater for 600 students and specialise in environmental and marine engineering. It is sponsored by the Aldridge Foundation, in partnership with the University of Brighton and Veolia Environmental Services as well as other local employers.
UTC Oxfordshire will cater for 650 pupils and specialise in science research, engineering and computing. It is sponsored by Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, the University of Reading, Royal Holloway (University of London), and is supported by a range of employer partners such as the BMW Group, IBM, Culham Science Centre and Rutherford Laboratory.