Hi-tech college will 'answer the needs of city employers'
A TECHNICAL college planned for Derby to train the engineers of the future will answer the needs of city employers, according to industry experts.
George Cowcher, chief executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said the plans revealed yesterday by Derby College and the University of Derby were "in demand".
He said: "Businesses in Derby will welcome the development of a new technical college in the city.
"It will play a key role in ensuring the local labour market continues to retain the skills required by local firms."
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The University Technical College will be for young people aged 14 to 19 and will combine core curriculum subjects of English, maths and science with engineering and technology skills.
It will work in a similar way to the JCB Academy in Rocester.
The college, university and Rolls-Royce are working on the plans and are taking feedback from businesses and schools before applying for University Technical College status from the Government.
Mr Cowcher said he felt that the feedback would be positive.
He said: "Derby is a hi-tech city which has a high concentration of companies operating in the advanced manufacturing sector.
"In order for these firms to continue to innovate, develop solutions and create new products, they need to have a ready supply of skilled workers who meet their often very specific requirements.
"The message the chamber keeps hearing from local businesses is that with an aging workforce, they are concerned about the struggle to replace retiring workers who possess the skills they need with a younger generation of employees who may not."
Mr Cowcher added the technical college would address this issue by "providing work-ready employees, who can be further developed and trained in the workplace".
The site for the college is not yet confirmed, but existing Derby College buildings are being looked at as possible locations.
And it will fit in with the creation of the Global Technology Cluster on land off Wilmore Road, which is being funded by £40 million of Government cash.
It will aim to bring together the brightest minds in manufacturing and engineering to drive forward innovation in the industry within Derby and help businesses diversify.
City council leader Paul Bayliss said: "The plans for the college will fit in extremely well with the Global Technology Cluster aims."
Professor John Coyne, University of Derby vice-chancellor, added: "The University Technical College will form part of a jigsaw of technology provision in the city."