In July the Department for Education agreed that the city’s application to establish a University Technical College should proceed to the pre-opening stage. Work is now proceeding at pace with a view to open in September 2016. A number of work streams are now under way including site identification and development, curriculum development and marketing.
The plans have evolved in response to demand from employers to tackle the shortage of skilled workers and the anticipated demand as older workers start to leave the sector through retirement.
Manufacturing remains hugely important to Leeds which has the third largest concentration of companies in the UK with over 1,500 companies employing more than 30,000 people, in turn contributing 11% to the city’s GVA. The sector is extremely diverse with a large base of small and medium sized companies feeding into supply chains for sectors as diverse as energy generation, medical, automotive, chemicals and food & drink. Furthermore, SME opportunities for growth are increasing as one in six UK manufacturers report having recently brought production back to a UK supplier and a further 6% reporting that they intend to re-shore either in-house or to a UK supplier in the next three years according to the Engineering Employers Federation.
Manufacturing also contributes significantly to the country’s balance of payments; exports from Yorkshire alone amounted to £17.5bn in 2013, a rise on the previous year.
The manufacturing sector is not just important in its own right; the multiplier effect the sector creates as it sources services and supplies from within the region is immense and supports employment across a range of related sectors including IT services, logistics, financial and professional advisory services. For the Leeds City Region to improve the contribution it makes to UK plc then manufacturing must remain competitive, access to talent is at the heart of this discussion.
Working with schools, colleges, universities and employers across the Leeds City Region, the UTC aims to educate up to 600 young people from 14-18 each year, preparing them for the range of career and further / higher education opportunities which exist now and in the future.
To be kept informed of the UTC development please contact us here.