The school that really means business: UTC Reading is preparing pupils for the world of work

The Independent reports on how one of the new UTCs is putting work first with corporate sponsors, suits instead of uniforms and houses replaced by ‘companies’…

It is 8.30 on Monday morning and all the “suits” are arriving for a hard day’s work.

These suits, though, are different to the City types you would usually encounter in London – not least because they are still of school age.

They are students at one of the new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) dedicated to preparing their pupils for the world of work. The colleges do not possess a school uniform – pupils are simply told they must turn up in a smart suit as if they are about to start work in the outside world.

The analogy with business does not stop there. James Weeks, aged 17, for instance, has been elected as the president of the students’ “executive board”.

He might be called head boy in a more traditional school – although his remit goes wider than that as he has had to act as an advocate for UTC Reading, at evening functions during which it is trying to impress locals with its commitment to the business image.

The school (its primary function is still to provide  education) is also split into four companies rather than houses – named after engineers, scientists and computer terminology (Brunel, Faraday, Chips and Code). Students work from 8.30am until 5pm three days a week, and finish at 4.30pm on Mondays and Fridays…

The college for 14- to 19-year-olds opened its doors to students for the first time in September – and has an impressive array of sponsors ready to offer work experience or set up projects for the students to work on: including Network Rail, Cisco, Microsoft, local civil engineering firm Peter Brett Associates and the University of Reading.

There is no shortage of industry support for the project in the area. Network Rail has unashamedly told the UTC that it hopes to find young people with the skills it needs to develop the nation’s rail infrastructure – skills that are too often lacking in school-leavers who have been taught more traditionally.

So far, 143 pupils have been enrolled, split between 14-year-olds and the first year of the sixth-form. The school will gradually grow until it has 600 pupils. Students study for a mixture of qualifications –BTECs in engineering or information technology, A-levels in maths, English and science, for instance…

More at:  The school that really means business: UTC Reading is preparing pupils for the world of work

Interesting approach? Please let us know what you think in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. MannersPR

    SchoolsImprove bedfordcollege consulting re technical skills for management with bedfordtech -future jobs powered by technology

  2. JayneSpencer67

    SchoolsImprove this approach shd be used in all schools. Young people need employment & business skills , not just taught to pass exams.

  3. jacquiburkefp

    JayneSpencer67 SchoolsImprove Agree. All schools should use the extra year that children stay at school to develop employability skills.

  4. JayneSpencer67

    jacquiburkefp SchoolsImprove we must engage with schools to help them work with businesses co’s who can help develop work ready students

  5. JayneSpencer67

    jacquiburkefp SchoolsImprove agree but not all business engage with chambers,lets get business teams from local authorities to connect

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