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Duke gives Black Country Young Enterprise college seal of approval

A COLLEGE in Walsall with a brilliant Young Enterprise track record is set to receive the royal seal of approval next week.

His Royal Highness The Duke of York will be visiting Black Country University Technical College (UTC) – one of the first of its kind in the country – on Monday (July 8).

During his visit HRH Prince Andrew, who is a strong advocate of UTCs, will meet staff, students, employers and stakeholders to discuss how the college – which occupies he former Sneyd School site in Vernon Way – is delivering innovative solutions that support local, regional and national businesses.

Principal Chris Hilton said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness has chosen to visit the Black Country UTC.

“The UTC has provided an exciting and different way for students to learn, helping them to become highly employable with strong technical and vocational skills.

“Over the past two years students have worked with employers and developed their learning though project-based work, which encourages them to solve authentic problems and work in groups to build real solutions.

“In Years 11 and 13 students are progressing successfully to sixth form, higher education, further education and employment through apprenticeships.”

Supported by lead sponsor Walsall College and co-sponsor the University of Wolverhampton, Black Country UTC opened in September 2011 and was one of the first of a new breed of schools across the country.

It offers 14 to 19-year-olds the opportunity to gain the qualifications and technical skills required for a career in science and engineering.

The college is located next to the West Midlands Construction University Technical College – Britain’s first construction-led UTC – which is due to open its doors next year.

Year 13 student Joe Symonds said: “Being one of the first students at the Black Country UTC has provided me with so many opportunities, experiences and knowledge.

“I was part of a team that reached the Young Enterprise final, beating over 3,000 other teams – and our product was marketed and sold overseas.

“The experiences I have had at the UTC have prepared me for the world of employment and also given me a head start.

“I am one of only 60 candidates from over 600 that applied to have secured a higher apprenticeship position at Jaguar Land Rover.

“This is a six-year course which will include studying at college and university to obtain a degree and undertaking work placements.”

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