Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells to Sponsor New University Technical College

29 May 2012

Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells componentsThe UK Department for Education has today accepted a bid to open a University Technical College (UTC) in Swindon, subject to a funding agreement with the Government. This follows a bid submitted earlier this year by joint sponsors Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Oxford Brookes University. The proposal is now in the development stage and the college will open in September 2014.

The bid was fully supported by Swindon Borough Council and Swindon College, both of whom were involved in the detailed planning of the proposal. The Council has approved £500,000 worth of investment to help set the college up and Swindon College will continue to be directly involved in setting up the engineering studies.

The sponsors will now design a college with an engineering focus, supported by business and enterprise, to meet the needs of local employers for technically skilled employees. It will also place Swindon at the forefront of a leading edge development in technical education provision and give young people more chances to gain a higher education qualification or apprenticeship.

Students from ages fourteen to nineteen will combine practice and theory to learn in a very practical way, integrating academic requirements with the technical and practical elements. The college ethos and curriculum will be heavily influenced by local and national employers who will also provide support and work experience for students.

The UTC will receive expert backing from its two sponsors: Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, a leading producer of catalysed components for use in fuel cells (image), and Oxford Brookes’ Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, as well as from Swindon College which has a long history of delivering engineering courses.

Dr Jack Frost, Director of Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, said: “We are delighted to be the main employer sponsor with Oxford Brookes University and to support this unique engineering college. “We are excited about its future and confident that the Swindon UTC will develop and provide high quality engineers to support local and national industry. This example of vocational balance in education will prepare students for work in industry and will produce better skilled engineers that are attractive to employers.”

Reference: Oxford Brookes University

Photo courtesy of Johnson Matthey

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