'Town centre' location proposed for planned Doncaster technology college site

Pupils at a UTC
Pupils at a UTC

Three Doncaster town centre locations have been identified as possible venues for a proposed Doncaster University Technical College.

The sites have not yet been publicly named, but will be discussed over the next few weeks as the proposals are currently with the Department for Education.

But Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, the business organisation which is leading the bid, confirmed all the shortlisted sites were in town centre locations.

The latest Doncaster University Technical College bid was handed to the Government in June 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 and engineering skills which are not taught in mainsteam schools.

Now Mr Fell has confirmed that the scheme would be in the town centre, with three sites under consideration.

He said: "It is vital that there is parity of accessibility for potential students of every background. They should all be able to get to a bus stop or a station not more than 10 minutes walk away.

"If we are going to promote a pathway to engineering to everyone in Doncaster this is so important.

"Ideally we want the UTC to be close to all the facilities in Doncaster - around culture, leisure and commercial centres. We want a good footfall so that people who go past it and are curious about it can be inspired to about what is going on on there, and see it as somewhere they could go themselves."

A number of other high profile education buildings have recently been constructed in out of town locations. They include the National College for High Speed Rail and the XP Free School, both in the Lakeside area, and New College Doncaster, in Auckley.

Meanwhile, Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, says she has been in talks with education secretary Justine Greening over the UCT proposal.

She said: "I am very supportive of the project and will work with the Chamber and do anything I can to encourage ministers the give it the go ahead.

"I have talked to Justine Greening about it and to the trust which sets these colleges up. I hope the project will progress."

The proposed college would be for 750 pupils aged between 13 and 19.

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

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.