SGS Berkeley GREEN UTC given royal seal of approval

8th February 2019
SGS Berkeley GREEN UTC given royal seal of approval

Gloucestershire’s newest secondary school and engineering college, SGS Berkeley GREEN UTC, was thrilled to welcome HRH The Princess Royal on Tuesday 5th February, to formally open the new campus.

After being greeted by Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Edward Gillespie OBE, The Princess Royal was given a tour of campus facilities by UTC Principal, Gareth Lister. While visiting classes, which included the engineering workshop and computer aided design suite, HRH spent time speaking with learners about their studies and career ambitions.

To mark the occasion, Group Chief Executive, Kevin Hamblin, asked The Princess Royal to unveil a plaque, which was revealed from behind a curtain via a pneumatic simulation system made up of electronic switches and air pistons, which is used by students on their level 3 engineering courses. 

Speaking about the royal visit, Gareth said: "The first two years at SGS Berkeley Green UTC have been an amazing journey, seeing our young people engage with employers and new technologies as they prepare for their qualifications and the next step of their journey into their future careers. It was an honour to host HRH The Princess Royal and ask her to officially open the UTC. Her kind words in support of the work we are doing, especially in trying to engage more young women into engineering really emphasised the value of our activities." 

Run by SGS Academy Trust, SGS Berkeley GREEN UTC, which sits on the site of the decommissioned nuclear power station, is quickly becoming the ideal breeding ground for the young engineers of the future. 

The UTC, which is backed by employers and universities, was set up to ensure young people have the technical skills employers desperately need in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM).

Following extensive renovations and installation of new, state of the art facilities the site is now home to 300 14-18 year-old learners, who study the core subjects of English, maths and science, but spend a large proportion of their time studying engineering, cyber and digital. This is an avenue of learning that many secondary schools can’t provide, and why these students have voted to leave their schools at the end of year 9 or 11 and go to Berkeley.

The UTC is also keen to break the stereotype that science, technology, engineering and maths careers are more suited to boys. This year the UTC has seen a positive rise in the number of girls enrolled, currently 11%, which is similar to what’s seen in industry. But the UTC’s hard work to recruit girls is having a positive impact and the number of girls anticipated to be enrolled is expected to rise to 18% by next year.

Assistant Principal at Berkeley Green, Andy Keenan, is an ex-RAF engineer who believes that his young female engineering students can help fill the skills gap in Gloucestershire: “We have a massive skills gap in engineering, and we need to encourage more young women to consider engineering as a valid career path.

“The current uptake of engineering posts by women is about 11%. If we can close that gender gap so that it was close to 50-50 the skills gap in engineering would be solved.”

Andrew continued: "Our students progress onto University degrees and into high quality apprenticeships in all sorts of sectors such as aerospace or civil engineering, filling roles such as design or manufacture. Engineering is such a diverse and enjoyable career that there is always another interesting challenge waiting for you around the corner"

Open events for the new campus are scheduled throughout 2019, with the next taking place Thursday 28 March, 17:30-20:00, where visitors can discover the vast array of learning opportunities, speak with course specialists, take part in a range of hands on activities, and take a tour of the impressive facilities. For details, click here

Learners can also apply by clicking here.

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