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Burnley's new technical centre is 'inspiring' says Lord Baker
THE FOUNDER of new vocational learning centres across the country has described Burnley’s University Technical College as ‘inspiring’.
Lord Kenneth Baker, the man spearheading the University Technical College movement, yesterday toured the £10.3 million facility.
The former Education Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, is the chairman and trustee of the body championing UTC’s, the Baker Dearing Educational Trust.
The vocational learning project for teenagers aged 14 to 19 with the Visions Learning Trust, in Trafalgar Street, gives learners a ‘working day’ experience.
Lord Baker said: “It is far more impressive than I could have imagined, very inspiring. Four years ago we didn’t have any UTCs at all, they didn’t exist. It is wonderful to see them in operation now.”
Martin Callagher, the college’s principal said: “It is very different and the students work in small groups and gain a lot of confidence that way. The learners have really enjoyed this visit and chatting with Lord Baker.”
Lord Baker watched lessons and chatted to staff and students while touring the former Victoria Mill in the historic Weavers’ Triangle.
Students studying A Levels, GCSEs and BTECs spoke to the visitors about their decision to try a new way of learning.
Former Pleckgate High student Mohammed Ally, 16, from Blackburn, said: “I’ve asked Mr Callagher to speak at my old school because more people should know about this choice. It’s completely different.”
Zain Bagdadi, 16, from Blackburn, said he wanted to work in mechanical engineering. He said: “It’s more like a workplace. You start early at 8.30am but you get your work done in the day.”
Callum Waddington, 15, from Burnley said he hoped to be an engineering officer in the RAF. He said: “You’re not stuck in a classroom, you’re trusted.”
Conner Wold, 14, from Brierfield, who wants to be a chemical engineer, said: “The teachers are passing on a trade and you feel like they care more.”
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