An exciting first year 
at town’s new college

UTC students hard at work in one of their workshops. Photo by student Christopher Bradley.
UTC students hard at work in one of their workshops. Photo by student Christopher Bradley.

It has been 12 months since students had their first classes with Daventry University Technical College.

With schools going back this week after the summer holidays, a new year group will be starting at the UTC off Ashby Road.

The UTC is one of 30 Government-funded places set up to offer students aged 14 to 18 more than traditional schools.

It teaches students technical and scientific subjects in a whole new way that bridges the gap between education and industry through integrating technical, practical and academic learning to create an environment where students develop the abilities employers need.

Daventry UTC’s initial intake last September of 97 students are now starting Year 10, and a new group of students will be starting their first year at the college. For the first term they worked at the University of Northampton before moving into their specially-built college off Ashby Road.

With more students attending, the college has taken on more teachers and support staff as well. Over the coming years the UTC will grow to around 600 students.

As well as embarking on their GCSEs, students’ learning is brought to life through Daventry UTC’s technical specialisms of electrical and mechanical engineering as well as construction engineering and design.

A spokesman for the UTC said: “Daventry UTC is sponsored by both Moulton College and the University of Northampton as well as having a long list of world class industry partners. Industry partners have not only played a key role in shaping the learning but are giving masterclasses in both technical and career focused sessions.

“Cummins has been a strong industry partner and has supported the training by sending in members of staff and at least two apprentices every week to mentor our young engineers.”

Manufacturing engineering leader Ian Bennion said “It is very pleasing to see the school up and running in Daventry and celebrating a strong first year. Providing a clear pathway in specialised subjects for students is a great concept and I am looking forward to building on the strong relationship Cummins has with the UTC.”

The UTC spokesman added: “An exciting project with Quartzelec was concluded recently where students solved a real life engineering challenge resulting in them designing a new adapter plate. They achieved this using their 3D computer aided design skills, producing models on the laser cutter and producing comprehensive project presentations to the company with their solutions.

“Construction engineering and design students – many of whom wish to be architects or designers – visited the development at DIRFT 2 with VolkerFitzpatrick on numerous occasions to get first-hand experience from the experts on site as to how they planned and executed the development as well as overcame numerous challenges. Buoyed by the announcement for the 
8 million sq ft DIRFT 3 development, Prologis has committed to supporting Daventry UTC for at least the next 15 to 20 years. This will provide students with experience and insights into both a large scale project as well as day to day technical challenges.

“Students benefit from a culture of ‘training intelligent hands’ where their learning is brought to life through the technical specialisms. From September 2015 DUTC students can also study a level three technical diploma in environmental sustainability. Students are essentially on a long-term job interview as they are in contact with industry on a weekly basis which will improve their employability, opportunities to be enrolled on an apprenticeship programme or transition onto further study at university.”

Daventry District Council was one of the authorities who pushed to get a UTC in the town. DDC leader Cllr Chris Millar said: “The Daventry UTC is a real boost to the educational offer of Daventry district and beyond with the impressive purpose-built facilities off Ashby Road providing first-class learning opportunities for young people.

“We were honoured that Daventry was chosen as one of the locations for the first tranche of UTCs nationally and, having visited the site on a couple of occasions during its inaugural year, I can commend it to students who are motivated to achieve the qualifications and skills that are highly valued by employers and therefore ideal for starting their future careers.”