WARRINGTON will be home to a new university technical college, the Warrington Guardian can reveal.
The Government has confirmed Warrington will house one of six new colleges to be open nationwide by 2016.
It is one of the first confirmed developments for the stadium quarter. It will be housed on land between Central Station and The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The college in Warrington will focus on energy engineering and nuclear engineering and will be for teenagers aged between 14 and 19.
Funded by the University of Chester and Warrington Borough Council. as well as businesses such as Sellafield, Nuvia and Amec, it aims to meet the recommendations of last year's Warrington Skills Commission whch reported a shortfall in engineering skills in the borough.
Lord Baker, chairman of the Baker Dearing Education Trust which is behind the college, said: "Today's announcement shows continued support and commitment from the Government to increase the size and impact of the UTC movement.
"There will now be 50 UTCs. I am delighted that UTCs enjoy all-party support and that the Coalition continues to back them.
"Several applications were very close to approval and the department has said that they will provide additional support for their reapplications before the next deadline.
"I am very pleased to note that there will be a further application round later this year with a closing date of May 9 for UTCs to open in 2016."
Professor Peter Harrop, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University’s Warrington Campus said: “The University of Chester has had a presence in Warrington for over 10 years.
"The UTC builds on that presence and offers an excellent fit with the findings of the Warrington Skills Commision as well as our new Faculty of Science and Engineering at Thornton.
"This is joined-up educational planning, clearly linked to the Warrington economic strategy.”
Clr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council said: “This is a fabulous coup for the town. Warrington excels in the nuclear and engineering sectors.
"The UTC will train, equip and prepare young people for careers in these sectors, address the skills gap and so grow and protect the future of these sectors in the town.
“The announcement also provides the trigger that kick starts development on our Stadium Quarter site and the ongoing renaissance of our town centre.
“On a regional and national scale it will attract greater investment to the borough and north west as a whole as employers will want to be based where the much-needed skill set is available.”
Paul Adams, Sellafield Ltd's Head of Risley Office and Engineering Improvements, said: "Sellafield Ltd is very excited about the news regarding the development of the Warrington UTC.
"We see the development of specialist education facilities such as UTCs as key routes for increasing the focus of local education systems towards engineering employers, helping to create career paths aimed at meeting the resource requirements of the nuclear and other engineering industries.
"We are proud to be members of the Warrington UTC Trust, and look forward to being active supporters alongside other organisations to ensure its success.
"Alongside the UTC being developed in West Cumbria, close to the Sellafield site, and the industry's other investments in skills and education infrastructure young people in the north west will be able take advantage of the fantastic opportunities that employment in the engineering sector can provide."
Aidan McManus, Operations Director, Tenet Consultants, said: “There is a recognised demand within the Warrington SME engineering community for suitably qualified school and college leavers. Tenet believes that the Warrington UTC will play a vital role in raising the awareness of its students to the potential opportunities available within the local job market.
"Exposure to the varied professions within the engineering industry and the many associated benefits will generate enthusiasm among the student population for developing a successful career in engineering.
“This collaboration between education and industry will help develop the engineering and vocational skills of students at Warrington UTC, thereby increasing their employability. As a potential future employer of these Warrington UTC graduates, Tenet believes that having a STEM subject focused college in the local area will help to maintain the company's ambition for sustainable and organic growth.”
Steve Wright, project director, Nuvia Limited, said: “The University Technical College will play an important role in meeting the skills required to capitalise on the growth prospects in the nuclear industry over the next few years and longer term.
"Having direct access to a pool of talented young people who have a passion and drive for ‘engineering’, who are focused on creating value, who are motivated and have the capacity and capability to drive innovation and productivity is crucial to the future success of our company and the industry.
"We see the University Technical College as a great opportunity to ensure that young people in Warrington and the region develop the skills and knowledge that local business needs.”