• Almost a third (32%) of children say they know more about technology than their teacher
  • Over two thirds of children (67%) have not had the opportunity to discuss a new technology or app idea with a teacher
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of children surveyed said they feel uninspired to learn at school

Today is the deadline for councils to inform parents of the opportunity to move their 14-year-old child to a University Technical College. It is the first time, at the beginning of the school year, that councils are alerting parents of the option for children to gain a specialist technical education. But it seems that not all classrooms are keeping up with the latest technological developments which business leaders warn could put Britain at an economic disadvantage post-Brexit.

New research released today of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, a charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges, reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom. and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

 When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

1. Building apps (45%)

2. Creating Games (43%)

3. Virtual reality (38%)

4.  Coding computer languages (34%)

5. Artificial intelligence (28%)

Worryingly, almost one in four children (24%) feel uninspired to learn at school and almost one third (32%) believe they are more knowledgeable than their teachers in technology. It seems that children are already looking to skills they will need for future jobs, considering careers in games creation (20%) app development (17%) and computer coding (15%).

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are backed by employers and universities, and have been set up to ensure young people have the technical skills employers desperately need in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM). However, additional research by Baker Dearing reveals that 7 in 10 children do not know that they can move school at the age of 14 to join a UTC. It is hoped that the letters being sent by local councils will increase young peoples’ and their parents’ awareness of the opportunities available.

CEO of Pall-Ex and former BBC Dragon, Hilary Devey CBE says:

“Helping young people gain the technical skills they need to give Britain a competitive advantage in post-Brexit Britain is vital to the long-term growth of our economy. Technology is at the heart of my business and I know how important it is to keep ahead of competition by using the latest technological developments.  

“However, finding young people who have the relevant skills levels is a huge challenge. A technical education, like that provided by UTCs, which starts at 14 and gives young people more time to develop these skills, makes sense to me.”

Aston Martin Chief HR Officer, Michael Kerr:

"Aston Martin has found great benefit in working with two local University Technical Colleges (UTCs), the Warwickshire WMG Academy for Young Engineers and Silverstone UTC located at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.

"Students at these UTCs are offered a career-led education involving work placements, interactive industry activities and visits to businesses. They understand how their learning relates to the real world and leave prepared for their future careers. Aston Martin supports with engineering commissions, work experience and employability skills. 

"Aston Martin have employed students from both establishments onto its highly-acclaimed apprenticeship scheme, which receives over 500 applications each year.  Their employability skills stood out from other candidates, they were confident at interview stage, selling themselves well and explaining what they would bring to the work place.  

"They integrate and excel in the workplace due to having had real world experience and being aware of what an employer expects of them."

Charles Parker, CEO of Baker Dearing Educational Trust comments:

“Changing school at 14 means young people interested in technical careers such as computing, robotics, engineering or cyber security, can get ahead. We must harness this young talent if we are to meet the challenges of Brexit and a world that is undergoing rapid, and continual, technological change.

“We welcome the letters being sent out by councils which mark a significant change in how technical skills are being promoted across the country. UTCs ensure young people have the skills they need to compete in the job market and our students secure excellent apprenticeships and places at university. We need to ensure parents and young people know about them.”


Notes to Editors

Children’s figures taken from research carried out by One Poll on behalf of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust/ University Technical Colleges. This was an online poll of 1,000 UK children aged between 11-17 who attend a state-funded school in England (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 12th June 2017 and 14th June 2017.

University Technical Colleges are non-selective technical schools for 14-19 year olds and there are 49 across the country.

UTCs are set up where employers and the local university identify that there are pronounced skills gaps. UTCs teach one or more technical specialisms that meet the skills shortages in the region. These include: artificial intelligence; aviation design; engineering; robotics; computer science; health sciences; product design; and digital technologies.

More than 500 employers support UTCs including Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Network Rail, Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft, as well as scores of small and medium sized businesses. Together with nearly 50 universities they contribute their knowledge as well as offering opportunities to experience the world of work.

The local university and employers that back the UTC control the Board of Governors.

Last year (2016) the vast majority of students leaving UTCs at 18 stayed in education, started an apprenticeship or started a job.  Destinations included 44% who went to university and 29% who started apprenticeships.  Only 5 students were NEET.

About Baker Dearing Educational Trust

Baker Dearing Educational Trust (Baker Dearing) was founded by Lord Baker and Lord Dearing to promote the concept of University Technical Colleges (UTCs). Baker Dearing sits at the centre of the UTC network and promotes and supports new and existing UTCs. Baker Dearing is funded by a number of major sponsors: the Edge Foundation, the Department for Education, Garfield Weston Foundation, Peter Cundill Foundation and Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

More information about UTCs: www.utcolleges.org