With two of our University Technical Colleges and a University project reaching key milestones in recent weeks, here’s a short round-up of what’s been happening in our Further Education sector:
South Devon UTC
South Devon University Technical College has now officially opened for 600 14 – 19 year old students. The UTC comprises new workshops, science labs, studios, classrooms and learning hubs, allowing for a stimulating curriculum that combines school experience and practical employer contact, with a significant proportion of the timetable spent on work-based projects.
Given the traditional nature of other education establishments in the town, local employers had reported that they struggle to find recruits with the skills they require. With a specific focus on Engineering, Water and the Environment, the aim is to create an ‘employer driven’ education system to provide a much-needed confident, motivated and skilled workforce for the region.
The UTC will aim to meet the challenge of local unemployment and multi-generational ‘worklessness’ by developing a world-class education facility. This will help to reduce the effects of social and economic disadvantage across the town and enhance the area’s overall educational offer in support of social and economic progress.
The vision to improve the student’s life chances needed to be supported by a signal of change, which was fundamental to the design. The building is wrapped in a patinated copper coloured metal clad element, making reference to the scientific and environment studies taking place within, with splashes of colour highlighting the entrance and key features.
Where possible, elements of the building have been expressed as learning tools connected to the schools specialism in Engineering, Water and the Environment. For example, a standard WC cistern and high velocity water saving WC are installed with clear backing panels so students can see and understand their internal workings.
The school was handed over on time at the end of 2015 with students commencing studies on site in January 2016. Feedback so far has been great and the new building has been a key part of the student recruitment drive for the new establishment.
Stride Treglown’s £22.8m Chichester University scheme, which focuses on engineering and digital creative technology facilities, has gone on display at a public consultation, with around 100 visitors in attendance.
The scheme, which is intended to attract between 1,200 to 1,500 students to Bognor, proposes a TV production studio, a green room and a ‘create, design, implement and operate’ centre. Also included have been a machine shop, welding area, fabricating laboratory with a 3D printer and engineering workshops.
The planned centre will enable 33 new degree courses to be offered by the university, including maths, electronic engineering, digital design and computer animation.
Public response was extremely positive, with local residents commenting on the future employment opportunities and companies in the area showing support due to the current engineering skills shortage that the scheme can help overcome.
Along with job opportunities, another benefit to the local economy will come via the new students, who are estimated to directly spend between £3-4m in Bognor, in addition to those already at the University.
A joint planning application with a c300 bed student accommodation scheme, also designed by Stride Treglown, is due to be submitted at the end of February. Work is then planned to start on site in mid-summer ready for the engineering and digital technology park to be finished at the end of 2017, for a hand-over in March 2018.
The new building will be on the Trafalgar School campus in Hilsea and teaching facilities will include workshops, laboratories and ICT suites.
Hydrock is providing mechanical and electrical consultancy and the structural engineer is Ridge & Partner. Work is due to start on site in early summer and the UTC will open its doors to students in September 2017.