The North East STEM Foundation (NESF) is encouraging Tees Valley businesses to support its proposals to establish a University Technical College (UTC) on Teesside.
The Foundation believes that Teesside’s ambitions to be a hub for clean, renewable
energy industries need to be supported by a consistent flow of people. This will ensure businesses investing and growing in Tees Valley are supported by skilled workforce, which can guarantee positions for future generations of local talent.
Industry on Teesside is thriving, highlighted by an influx of investment and initiatives, such as Tees Valley being granted Freeport status in March 2021. The Freeport will cover 4,500 acres, meaning it will be the largest in the UK and create more than 18,000 jobs and provide a £3.2 billion boost to the local economy over the next five years.
Teesside has also recently been recognised as a “net zero hot spot”, accentuated by Net Zero Teesside, whose top priorities, alongside making Teesside Airport Net Zero by 2030, include delivering the UK’s first decarbonised heavy industrial cluster by 2040 through the deployment of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS).
A UTC is ideal to support the skills requirements of these sectors as well as Tees Valley’s well-established businesses such as those operating in advanced manufacturing and engineering, offshore oil and gas, logistics and chemicals and process industries.
The charity, which aims to advance the understanding and education of young people in the North East of England, in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), hopes to replicate the success of the region’s existing UTCs in South Durham and Newcastle to support industry on Teesside.
To establish a UTC, it requires sponsorship from a university and businesses. In the case of UTC South Durham, its founding supporters were Gestamp, Hitachi and the University of Sunderland.
This sponsorship, together with a groundswell of support from other businesses in the Tees Valley, will enable an application to the Baker Dearing Trust, which has an official partnership with the Department for Education and was established to support, advocate, and develop UTCs in England to provide focussed training opportunities that address skills shortages.
While the UTC will act independently of the foundation, the charity will support the facility by raising funds to assist students access its STEM education provision by removing financial barriers, supporting engineering-based projects as well as supporting travel, uniform and PPE costs for students from poorer backgrounds.
It also helps to build relationships between employers and the UTC to provide opportunities for students to gain invaluable workplace experience and be part of its strategy to support its ‘cradle to career’ objective.
Tania Cooper MBE, Chair of NESF, said: “There has never been a better time to invest in our region’s young people. Teesside is benefiting from exciting forward-thinking growth and significant investment, which is key to the economic development of the area.
“With growth and investment comes the need for further infrastructure, which in turn calls for more skilled people to fulfil positions.
“That is why, through building partnerships with local businesses, we will provide young people in the region with practical and transferable skills that will equip them with specialist technical skills and knowledge to serve increasing demand on Teesside.”
In addition to giving backing to a UTC on Teesside, there are several ways to support STEM training in the North East through the foundation.
To make a donation or a pledge, join ‘Friends of NESF’, offer apprenticeship places or sponsor the NESF Annual Charity Dinner on 20th October, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
News release issued on behalf of North East STEM Foundation
For more information contact Jamie Collis or Andrew Douglas on 01325 363436