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Friday, 24 October 2014

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First look at West Cumbria's new University Technical College

Lillyhall's University Technical College is due to be completed within the next two months.

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UP, UP AND AWAY: Principal Gary Jones and vice-principal Karen Kelso see how the construction of the Energy Coast University Technical College is progressing

The site opened its doors this week for its management team to have the first look round the building.

Gary Jones, principal, Karen Kelso, vice principal, Andy Crowder, chairman of governors, and Rob Rimmer, of Britain’s Energy Coast Campus, were all shown round the £10 million project on Jubilee Road.

Around 140 students have now been recruited as the first cohort to learn in the technical college and will start in September.

The college features a ground floor which includes a canteen, communal space, changing rooms, workshop and classrooms, and first floor with laboratories, teaching space and management suite.

Students will also have use of two outdoor all-weather games areas and access to neighbouring Lakes College via a footpath linking the two sites.

Mr Jones said: “What will be available to students in the University Technical College will not be replicated in other facilities in the area, meaning we will give students the best possible learning experience.

“This college has been designed to offer a tailored approach to education working in partnership with local employers. It will set students up for the world of work.

“They will get the opportunity to meet up with local employers before they start in the new term.”

Over the last few months the technical college has seen one of the best recruitment rates of any university technical college to date.

It has also seen a 19 per cent recruitment rate for female students compared to the national average of seven per cent.

Mrs Kelso, who started in her role last week, added: “It is a very exciting time for education in West Cumbria. It will be a fantastic new challenge for me personally.

“Working in partnership with local employers will mean a wealth of opportunities for students and for those employers, it will mean a highly skilled future workforce.

“We are in the process of appointing some highly qualified staff from the local area who all know the specific needs of West Cumbria.”

The building has been designed to feel like a mix between a workplace and a school.

Local firms including Sellafield, James Walker, Morgan Sindall and Iggesund Paperboard are the technical college’s employer partners.

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