Stephen Howse

Inspire, Teach, Create Develop Build


The world of work is such a complicated place to figure out… You’re 16, you’ve just finished school, where do you go next?

With the consistent demise of work experience opportunities within schools, UTCs provide a breath of fresh air and a lot of hope for the future. Many pupils leaving your average secondary school will have a had little or no work experience and in many cases a pitifully small amount of careers advice. The UTC framework has been designed to provide pupils with many opportunities to work alongside prospective employers who are local and from a relevant sector.

This experience and guidance in my mind can be viewed as an extra GCSE in the world of work. The potential for students to make an informed decision about their future will allow many pupils to plan for life after compulsory education in ways that the typical secondary school pupil just can’t. Questions such as: Should I be taking a vocational path? or Should I be going to University? will become much clearer after a student has experienced both the academic and vocational pathways alongside a work place setting.

The UTC culture has been designed to provide pupils with a sense of purpose influenced by a range of different organisations including universities, potential employers and staff alike. This focus on providing pupils with a focus beyond their final exams is something that is rarely seen in many schools. The idea of looking at career objectives rather than exams will have a massive impact on how many students view the content they are studying. Students who may be ‘fed up’ with a standardised style education where the focus is to complete the 'next step' can be provided with a vision of their future.

One final but very important point, the local employers benefit massively! Imagine being able to see a student/potential employee develop from age 14, provide all the necessary guidance and experience so they are fully ready to work in your company at age 18. Contrast this with having to interview hundreds of 18 year olds to find a student with the necessary skills and acumen to fulfil the job role you have available.

I know which one I’d choose…