Work starts on new technology and engineering academy

Ceremony at the site of the new Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy.

Building work has started on the Bristol Technology and Engineering (BTE) Academy in New Road, Stoke Gifford, the first of its kind in the south west.

The academy will open in September 2013 to educate young people who are interested in a career in the engineering or environmental technology sectors.

As a University Technical College (UTC), the academy will give 14-19 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technically-oriented course of study.

In its first year, the academy will have up to 120 students in Year 10 (14 year olds) and up to 60 in Year 12 (16 year olds). Once fully operational, in 2016/17, there will be 440 students and 33.5 full-time equivalent staff.

The academy has already had a large number of applications from a broad catchment area, from Weston-super-Mare in the south to Dursley in the north of the region.

Speaking about the new building, the academy’s newly-appointed principal Rhian Priest commented:

“The BTE Academy is part of a new style of education that will offer industry-related teaching, a direct link to top employers and a unique type of learning. All of this will be housed in a brand new, state-of-the-art building which is sure to inspire and engage students.”

The academy has two educational sponsors, the University of the West of England (UWE) and City of Bristol College.

Dr John Lanham, Associate Dean, Faculty of Environment & Technology, UWE, said:

“UWE is delighted to be supporting the development of this new academy which will provide a great opportunity for those wishing to pursue a range of careers in engineering and technology. The curriculum has been designed to offer an integrated approach that will support students across the range of further studies – be it a craft apprenticeship, higher level apprenticeship or embarking on a course at college or university.”

Judith Stradling, Deputy Principal, City of Bristol College, said:

“The BTE Academy will offer an exciting opportunity for young people to work with employers, college and university specialists to give them the best chance for progression to employment , apprenticeships or university. The courses on offer at this new building will complement the college’s own programmes and we are very excited to be a partner in this new venture.”

John Boughton, Director of Operations at construction firm Willmott Dixon added:

“We are very excited to be involved in the establishment of the South West’s first university technical college, which will prove a significant boost to the already fantastic educational provision in Bristol. This development will also help develop the city’s existing reputation in advanced engineering and sustainable technologies, while boosting employment opportunities in these burgeoning vocational sectors.”

“In addition, the development itself will open up local job opportunities and provide a boost to the local economy through our use of locally sourced materials and local subcontractors.”

Local firms GKN Aerospace and Airbus are the industrial co-sponsors of the academy and it is also supported by Rolls-Royce.

Tony Rooke, Operations Manager for Apprentice Programs at Airbus, Filton, said:

“Airbus is looking forward to supporting the BTE Academy in its aim of producing the engineers of the future.”

The next open day for prospective students and their parents will be held on Wednesday 28th November 2012 between 4:30pm and 7pm at the Science Learning Centre, At-Bristol, Anchor Road, Bristol.

Once completed, the BTE Academy will stand alongside a new Engineering Department building that is being built for City of Bristol College. Both buildings are being constructed on land formerly occupied by the now-demolished Filton High School.

Photo: Turf-cutting ceremony at the site of the new Bristol Technology and Engineering (BTE) Academy. L-R: John Boughton (Willmott Dixon), Tony Rooke (Airbus), Rhian Priest (BTE Academy), Judith Stradling (City of Bristol College) and Dr John Lanham (UWE).

Related link: Schools & Colleges in Stoke Gifford (The Journal)

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