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Schools not teaching latest technology

Matt Evans

Almost a third (32 percent) of children say they know more about technology than their teacher. Over two thirds of children (67 percent) have not had the opportunity to discuss a new technology or app idea with a teacher. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of children surveyed said they feel uninspired to learn at school. Comment from CEO of Pall-Ex and former BBC Dragon, Hilary Devey CBE.

Today is the deadline for councils to inform parents of the opportunity to move their 14-year-old child to a University Technical College. It is the first time, at the beginning of the school year, that councils are alerting parents of the option for children to gain a specialist technical education. But it seems that not all classrooms are keeping up with the latest technological developments which business leaders warn could put Britain at an economic disadvantage post-Brexit.

Worryingly, almost one in four children (24 percent) feel uninspired to learn at school and almost one third (32 percent) believe they are more knowledgeable than their teachers in technology. It seems that children are already looking to skills they will need for future jobs, considering careers in games creation (20 percent) app development (17 percent) and computer coding (15 percent).

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are backed by employers and universities, and have been set up to ensure young people have the technical skills employers desperately need in science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM). However, additional research by Baker Dearing reveals that 7 in 10 children do not know that they can move school at the age of 14 to join a UTC. It is hoped that the letters being sent by local councils will increase young peoples’ and their parents’ awareness of the opportunities available.

CEO of Pall-Ex and former BBC Dragon, Hilary Devey CBE says: “Helping young people gain the technical skills they need to give Britain a competitive advantage in post-Brexit Britain is vital to the long-term growth of our economy. Technology is at the heart of my business and I know how important it is to keep ahead of competition by using the latest technological developments. “However, finding young people who have the relevant skills levels is a huge challenge. A technical education, like that provided by UTCs, which starts at 14 and gives young people more time to develop these skills, makes sense to me.”

Michael Kerr, Chief HR Officer at Aston Martin comments: “Aston Martin has found great benefit in working with two local University Technical Colleges (UTCs), the Warwickshire WMG Academy for Young Engineers and Silverstone UTC located at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.

Students at these UTCs are offered a career-led education involving work placements, interactive industry activities and visits to businesses. They understand how their learning relates to the real world and leave prepared for their future careers. Aston Martin supports with engineering commissions, work experience and employability skills.

Aston Martin have employed students from both establishments onto its highly-acclaimed apprenticeship scheme, which receives over 500 applications each year.  Their employability skills stood out from other candidates, they were confident at interview stage, selling themselves well and explaining what they would bring to the work place. They integrate and excel in the workplace due to having had real world experience and being aware of what an employer expects of them.”

Charles Parker, CEO of Baker Dearing Educational Trust comments: “Changing school at 14 means young people interested in technical careers such as computing, robotics, engineering or cyber security, can get ahead. We must harness this young talent if we are to meet the challenges of Brexit and a world that is undergoing rapid, and continual, technological change. “We welcome the letters being sent out by councils which mark a significant change in how technical skills are being promoted across the country. UTCs ensure young people have the skills they need to compete in the job market and our students secure excellent apprenticeships and places at university. We need to ensure parents and young people know about them.”

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