CEO interviewed on BBC Daily Politics show
Andy Robinson, CEO of Automated Technology Group, recently took part in the BBC’s Daily Politics show. He was interviewed by Jo Coburn – who presents the show with Andrew Neil – on the subject of University Technical Colleges and then participated in a discussion on the issue of technical education with Lord Baker, former Education Secretary, and the Labour MP, Kevin Brennan.
The government has pledged to open 24 University Technical Colleges (UTCs) by 2014. A new concept in education, UTCs are designed to offer 14-19 year olds the opportunity to take a full-time, technically oriented course of study. The colleges are sponsored by a university and offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work. Students have longer hours (8.30am-5.00pm) than at school and complete two days of practical work per week. The UTC curriculum is influenced by local and national employers, who also provide support and work experience for students.
Andy Robinson made the point that the existing UTCs are not sufficiently visible, as many people either know nothing about them or do not realise how many are up and running around the country. ATG, he said, was unaware that there was a UTC in Bedfordshire – despite being an employer desperate for technical apprentices – and many employers do not know that they are welcome to engage with UTCs, let alone how to go about it. Andy went on to say that he believed that ATG had missed out on over £10 million of business in 2012 due to engineering skill shortages. He also made the point that there is a real need to change the philosophy that exists in schools today, in order to encourage students and their families to get excited about and view positively the skills required for manufacturing and engineering.