(Press release South Devon University Technical College:) Newton Abbot, 5 June 2015 - A ceremony has been held (Friday 5th June) in Newton Abbot to mark progress on the town’s new University Technical College. Anne Marie Morris MP, who was re-elected as MP for Newton Abbot, Ian Crews the Principal Designate of the new South Devon UTC and Professor Janice Kay, Provost Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter performed a “topping out” of the £10.5 million new building. Ms Morris tightened a golden bolt on the four-storey UTC roof to signify BAM Construction having reached full height for the state-of-the-art specialist water engineering, science and environmental teaching facilities.
Ms Morris, MP for Newton Abbot said: "This is a dream come true, not just for me but for so many young people and our business community across South Devon. Together we dared to aspire to create a very special learning opportunity in science and engineering. There were those that said we couldn't do it - but we have done it - and in some style! The commitment, teamwork and friendships created through this project between different parts of the community are life-long with all the benefits that will bring. It gave me very great pleasure to tighten the golden bolt on our four storey UTC roof to signify the full height of the building has been reached. I look forward to watching the final stages of construction and welcoming our first students. We are the first and only rural University Technical College - and we will continue to lead the way for others!"
Ian Crews, Principal Designate at South Devon UTC said: "Friday 5th June marks a key milestone in the construction of South Devon's new £10m engineering and science school. I am delighted to be part of this event which gives us the opportunity to share the excitement that is growing about the opportunities this new building will give to 14-18 year olds across the wider South Devon area. Students, parents and business alike continue to indicate their excitement and determination to be involved in this new educational choice in our area."
Professor Janice Kay, Provost Vice Chancellor from Exeter University said: "Exeter University is delighted to be here today to take part in this event which demonstrates the key partnerships which have driven this project forward. This is exactly what South Devon needs to give our young people a focussed education in our economy's areas of skills shortage; that of science, engineering and the environment. To be involved in a project that really focusses on appropriate destinations for young people, whether that be University, apprenticeship or employment is one of the ways that the University is helping to develop the wider economy in Devon."
BAM has used the build programme to offer some additional learning support in the area. It has conducted mock interviews for students at TQ12 and Coombeshead Academy, has apprentices on site, and is helping apprentices gain experience in brickwork and carpentry.
Graham Kingdon, construction director for BAM Construction, said: “We are Britain’s leading contractor in the UTC programme. This reflects our ability to deliver not only an efficient education building, but one that reflects a proper understanding of what each client wants and needs from the space they will occupy for many years. That requires listening very carefully, and truly engaging with them about how they will use the building. From that good partnerships grow, and I’m pleased that is our experience here in Newton Abbot.”
BAM demolished existing buildings and remediated the Kingsteignton Road site in Newton Abbot before works began on the brownfield site to build a four-storey building on a split-level former garage site. A retaining wall divides the site in two, with one section 4m higher than the other. The undercroft was constructed on the lower land and this will be used to house the building services plant.
For more details on the UTC, please see www.southdevonutc.org, call 01626 215855, or email email@example.com. The college is also on Facebook, www.facebook.com/southdevonuniversitytechnicalcollege and Twitter @SouthDevonUTC.
Exeter University Provost Janice Kay, chair of the UTC Board of Directors, said: “As a leading research institution, and a member of the Russell Group of universities, we need to attract the very best students, and the UTC will help us to do this; we hope that many of the UTC’s students will make a natural progression from there to the university. Equally, we are comfortable with playing our role in finding the scientists and engineers of the future who may take other routes into careers.
“The UTC offers the opportunity to study courses which are not available anywhere else in the region. As a university, we believe in promoting excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM subjects – and in facilitating opportunities to extend the science base in the UK, which is why we are giving the UTC our wholehearted support.”
South Devon College’s Principal Stephen Criddle said: “This is a hugely important step for the UTC and we’re proud to be playing a key role, alongside the University of Exeter and leading regional employers, in this innovative and exciting industry-focused learning environment for 16 to 18-year-old students from across the area. Our message to young people considering applying to the UTC is that you really can change your world by coming here.”The launch of the UTC has been supported by local businesses and young people alike.
Tony Wiltshire, director and general manager of Centrax Turbine Components Ltd, said: “We’re very excited that that UTC has reached this important landmark in its development. Local industry is going to benefit from having a pool of well-educated and highly skilled young people available for work, and students will benefit from being well-prepared for future employment in the region.”
Linden Homes’ South West managing director Nigel Palmer said: “As one of the nation’s leading home-builders, with a strong portfolio across the South West, we’re very keen to support the UTC and to see it, and its students, succeed. The construction and civil engineering sector, among many others, needs young people with the skills required to help drive economic growth in the future, and we hope this new school will help to provide them.”
South West Water Director of Operations and Chair of the UTC Project Steering Group Dr Stephen Bird said: “This new UTC is an exciting development which will improve the job prospects of thousands of young people throughout the region. We’re only too pleased to be able to support the UTC in the knowledge that it will give the next generation of scientists and engineers the solid, work-based grounding they will need to succeed.”
For more information please contact Principal Designate Ian Crews on 01626 215855 or South Devon UTC Project Champion Adele Dawson on 07739 171354.