University Technical Colleges outperform traditional schools to secure top STEM apprenticeships

University Technical Colleges are outperforming traditional schools when it comes to securing apprenticeships according to Lord Baker, the founder of the technical schools for 14- 19 year olds.

Over the last 3 years, a quarter of Year 13 UTC leavers went on to start apprenticeships and last year 37% of those apprenticeships were at a higher or degree level.  This is more than six times the national average. 

The majority of apprenticeships UTC students started were STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) related. This is good news for employers who are desperate for talent particularly in these sectors.

UTC leavers accounted for 7% of the total number of new higher apprenticeship starts in the 19 to 24 age range nationally.

Former Secretary of State, Lord Baker, who chairs the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and created UTCs, said:

It’s no surprise to me that University Technical Colleges are delivering the highest percentage of apprenticeship destinations amongst KS5 leavers. UTCs recognise the high value of apprenticeships and they are leading the way.

“Students at UTCs know more about apprenticeships than most teenagers because of their unique curriculum that combines technical and academic education. UTC students are interacting with employers all the time so they have a clearer understanding of the routes they can take to the careers they are interested in.”

The Royal Navy’s Captain David Joyce says:

“The Royal Navy is proud to be one of the UK's largest training organisations and a Top 100 apprenticeship provider. We have been supporters of University Technical Colleges since they were introduced and we are delighted with the former UTC students who have joined us on our accelerated apprentice programme.

"UTC students stand out and are particularly desirable to employers because their education has given them a technical grounding and practical experience. These qualities mean they have a head start when they join us and in some cases it can accelerate training time."

Former UTC students that have successfully pursued the apprenticeship route include Tiffany Cox, a former Oxfordshire student who is now an apprentice at Williams F1.

  • Megan Wilson & Neve Rudd were former Energy Coast UTC students. They are now degree apprentices in Mechanical Design and Electrical Installation Design at Sellafield in Cumbria.
  • Libby Brookes, a former student at Lincoln UTC is now a Level 3 Procurement Apprentice at Dynex Semiconductor, a large local engineering company.
  • Risha Divyesh and Husna Mahmood, former UTC Reading students both secured a place on the Cisco apprenticeship programme after completing their post-16 studies in 2016.
  • Adam Varley former JCB Academy student was sponsored through his degree apprenticeship at Sheffield Hallam University and is now employed as an engineer at JCB.
  • Adam Waggott former Liverpool Life Sciences UTC is now a higher level apprentice at Unilever studying a degree in medicinal chemistry at Liverpool University



About UTCs

The UK needs more advanced technical skills at all levels. We need a workforce that can develop new products, stretch and reuse existing resources and fulfil the needs of 21st century industry. The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that by 2020 we will need to find more than a million more scientists, engineers and technicians[1].

There are 49 UTCs in England. They are non-selective technical secondary schools for 14-19 year olds that use the latest equipment and technology to provide a learning environment that reflects the workplace.

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: engineering; manufacturing; computer science; health sciences; product design; digital technologies; and the built environment.

More than 400 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.

More information about UTCs:

[1] The Universe of Engineering- A call to action,  Report published by The Royal Academy of Engineering, 2014