July decision date set for £10m UTC plan

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Scarborough will find out next month if it is to be successful in its bid for a new £10 million University Technical College.

The team behind the bid travelled to Sheffield on Wednesday last week to meet with a department for Education North panel, who grilled them on their plans.

The scheme is backed by local businesses, including Unison and McCains, Scarborough Borough Council and the University of Hull.

Peter Wilkinson, director of Eastfield-based manufacturer Unison, said that it had been a thorough examination.

He said: “This is a huge £10m project that has the absolute backing of the business community. Most of the businesses in this room have signed up. Last October, at the end of Engineering Week, we proposed that we would go for UTC status. We’ve been pretty fast track. We’ve had an amazing team working with us, including Hull University.

“We submitted a business plan on June 7 and that business plan was accepted. During our interview they asked us questions that were very difficult. The team from Scarborough behaved impeccably.

“If it goes to plan, we will know by the end of July if we have UTC status. That means we will have a new build (development) potentially on a green field site, and it will be iconic. Why do we need it? We are now fighting with each other for the right people. At Unison, we have got 10 vacancies that we’ve got to fill. We are competing with each other.

A UTC is run differently from a normal school or college. Students are taken on at the age of 14 and stay until they are 19.

On graduating, its students would go straight into the world of work, apprenticeship or university. It would be run by a new board including business representatives, to be set up with a principal.

No pre-entry qualifications are required, and a start-up pot of £300,000 would come from the Education Funding Agency. Those attending the UTC would work from 8.30am until 5pm to better replicate working conditions and would also be required to wear business dress.