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UTCs boost parent confidence on future prospects

Parents whose children attend a University Technical College (UTC) feel more positive about their future prospects according to the results of a survey released today.

The survey of 1,000 parents with children at mainstream schools found that two thirds (66%) worry their child will not find a job when they leave education.

Nearly half (48.1%) said they felt stressed about their child’s education and 80% believed the education system should change to reflect modern working Britain.

By contrast, a survey of 450 parents whose children attend a UTC – including those from UTC Reading - found that 85% believed the school was preparing their child for the world of work. Three quarters said the UTC has made their child more confident about getting a job.

Joanne Harper, principal of UTC Reading, said: “UTCs provide young people with a real experience of work through strong relationships with employers and a curriculum designed to meet the skills needs of industry.

“The result is that students develop the technical and soft skills that employers are looking for and feel more confident about the transition from education into employment.

“We have already seen the benefits of this approach as our first students, who joined us in the sixth form two years ago, have gone on to secure apprenticeships and employment with industry leaders. In an increasingly competitive jobs market, students who have already built links with future employers and achieved industry-specific technical qualifications will get the edge over their peers.”

UTC Reading provides a computer science and engineering curriculum alongside core GCSEs and A-levels for students aged 14 to 19. The school, which is sponsored by Activate Learning, is run with the support of industry partners including Microsoft, Cisco, Network Rail and Peter Brett Associates. Earlier this year, it became the first UTC in the country to be rated outstanding across all areas by Ofsted.

The research project was carried out by OnePoll on behalf of the Baker Dearing Trust, the charity which promotes UTCs, amongst parents of children aged 14-18 in state schools and UTCs in the UK.

Lord Baker, Chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said: “These findings highlight the importance parents place on their children’s education and whether it gives them the qualifications and experience they need to secure a job. Although it’s early days, UTCs are playing an important role to ensure children get the education they need for the 21st century workplace. This is valued a great deal by parents and I’m delighted that so many would consider a UTC education for their children.”

Peter Glover, senior manager at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), said: “The youth unemployment rate is still much higher than the adult rate, and unemployment whilst young can seriously harm a young person’s future career.

“There are many jobs that offer positive career prospects for young people.  Our Careers of the Future report highlighted opportunities in science, engineering and information technology, as well as in health and care, the education sector and construction, to name just a few examples. Young people need to consider how the available opportunities marry up with their own interests and abilities.”

To find out more about UTC Reading, visit a taster event at the school. The next event takes place on Thursday 3 December 5-7.30pm. Book your place at

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett