Improved Doncaster technology college plan moves forward

Ajdingh and Holly get first hand robotics experience as UTC Leeds opens its doors to pupils for the first time
Ajdingh and Holly get first hand robotics experience as UTC Leeds opens its doors to pupils for the first time

Business leaders are to push forward with plans for a special technical college to give Doncaster teenagers the skills they are crying out for.

A beefed-up application for a Doncaster University Technical College will be handed to the Government today with employers in the borough hoping for a quick decision of a proposal that first reared its head in 2015.

The plans have been put together by Doncaster Chamber, rail firm Wabtec and construction firm Keepmoat because of concerns among businesses about a skills gap in the borough.

The college would teach technical science engineer skills which are not taught in mainsteam schools.

Earlier this year, the chamber voiced concerns that the application had still not been rubbed stamped by ministers.

But since then they have received feedback on the proposal raising areas where the Government wanted more information.

Those details have been included in the new application, which has also been altered to make the proposed college 25 per cent bigger.

The document which goes to the Government this week includes more details on finance, educational eadership, and the curriculum that would be taught to pupils.

And the college would now be for a 750 pupils aged between 13 and 19, rather than 600 youngsters aged between 14 and 19.

The application reveals the scheme will have involvement from Hungerhill School, XP School, Doncaster College, the National College for High Speed Rail, Sheffield University, and Sheffield Hallam University.

Doncaster Chamber chief executive Dan Fell said: “One of the issues that was raised by the Government was about the demand for a college like this, because they said there were vacancies in education in the borough’s schools.

“But is it not the number of places that is the issue, it is whether, it is if they are the right courses and training that businesses in Doncaster need.

“There are some great schools in Doncaster, but these are technical skills we need that are not taught in schools.

“Doncaster’s economy is changing and it is creating more demand for certain skills that businesses need.

“Every meeting I go to the skills shortage is mentioned.

“They business community have been pushing got this for three years, giving their time and money. They hve day jobs too, and could have walked away if they did not think this was very important.”

He said he was confident in the bid which was now much stronger than before, and the only complication may be any change in personnel in the Government following last week’s general election.

UTCs are schools for specialising in the delivery of science, technology, engineering and maths.

The purpose of UTCs is to develop the advanced technical skills required to ensure that the UK prospers in the 21st century.

The college would work closely with local businesses and partners to effectively develop the next generation of engineers and technicians, giving them the right skills, knowledge and experience to fulfil their potential and prepare them for the world of work.

The borough’s MPs are expected to lobby minsters for the scheme along with organisations such as the Local Enterprise Partnership.