We were honoured to welcome HRH The Duke of York, KG to UTC Warrington on Monday 7th November to officially open our brand new, state of the art, £10 million college.
HRH The Duke of York, KG was met by Lord Lieutenant, David Briggs, who proceeded to introduce HRH The Duke of York, KG to Principal and Chief Executive of UTC Warrington, Lee Barber and several key project stakeholders alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington, Councillor Faisal Rashid and Mrs Aleeza Rashid; the leader of Warrington Borough Council, Councillor Terry O’Neill and the Chief Executive of Warrington Council, Dr Steven Broomhead.
Once introductions were complete HRH The Duke of York, KG was given a tour of the facilities by Principal and Chief Executive, Lee Barber which included a visit to the 160-seat lecture theatre where a group of Year 10 students were taking part in an English lesson designed to test their knowledge and understanding on GCSE text – An Inspector Calls.
A group of 10 Year 12 students taking part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme were waiting in the Fujistu Learning Resource Centre along with Steph Tickle from Young Enterprise and Greg Hewitt, Managing Director of Rock Oil and employer partner of UTC Warrington, to welcome HRH The Duke of York, KG. The Duke of York, KG spent a considerable amount of time talking to the team about why they had chosen to participate in the project, their business ideas and how they are going to take the project forward.
Year 12 student Lauryn Baker and Managing Director of the Young Enterprise business, LUX said “It was an honour to meet Prince Andrew, he asked us some challenging questions when we met him which meant we had to think fast, but I really enjoyed the experience of being able to share our plans and get some feedback from a member of the royal family.”
HRH The Duke of York, KG continued through the college stopping off to talk to students in a Computer Coding lesson and a Physics lesson before he met with a class of Design Engineering students on the 2nd floor of the college working on designing mobile phone stands as part of their Tech A Level qualification. Assistant Director of Engineering Ryan O’Hare explained how students could produce their designs on industry specification software Autodesk Fusion 360.
The final stop on the tour of the college was in the ground floor engineering workshop where Director of Science & Engineering, Mark O’Donoghue gave HRH The Duke of York, KG a demonstration of the Swift Cut plasma cutter, followed by a group of Year 12 students demonstrating how they use virtual welding equipment in lessons to practice their hands-on skills.
The royal visit was concluded with the official opening ceremony which was attended by a group of over 80 employer partners, stakeholders and staff members. HRH The Duke of York, KG shared his thoughts on his visit and the UTC model before finishing with the unveiling of a plaque specially commissioned to mark the occasion.
Of the visit Principal and Chief Executive of UTC Warrington, Lee Barber said: “We were honoured that HRH The Duke of York, KG chose to visit and officially open University Technical College Warrington. As a champion of the UTC concept we were keen to demonstrate our specialist approach to education and provide him with a real insight into how UTCs are developing and matching student skills with the needs of local businesses”.
HRH The Duke of York, KG is a patron of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, and has awarded UTC students from across the country with the Duke of York Award at ceremonies in London for the last three years. The Duke of York Awards recognise the hard work of UTC students who have pursued and performed well in technical subjects including engineering, health sciences, advanced manufacturing and computer science.
UTC Warrington is sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University and local employers. UTC Warrington specialises in science and engineering and offers an outstanding opportunity for the young people of Warrington and the wider region to work with major energy and engineering employers based in the town, including Sellafield Ltd, Amec Foster Wheeler, Tenet Consultants, Nuvia, Atkins, Stanley Engineered Fastenings, MWH and Fujitsu.
The aim of UTC Warrington is to integrate technical, practical and academic learning and create an environment where students can thrive and develop the abilities that industry needs. As international, national, regional and local employers, the industrial sponsors play a major role, helping to shape the curriculum and relate it to future jobs that match the needs of the local economy. In turn, students acquire the skills and knowledge that are in demand from employers along with having access to the latest equipment and technology used in industry.
UTCs are a relatively new concept in education, offering a safe, high quality, technically-orientated curriculum for 14-19 year olds in an environment where young people are encouraged to follow their interests and to develop them into engineering-related skills and qualifications.