A vibrant mixture of Burnley’s industrial heritage and a state-of-the-art vision to train the engineers and manufacturing stars of the future, the town’s University Technical College is set to open its doors to students.
The Burnley Express was given a tour of the £10.3m. Visions Learning Trust centre, on the site of Victoria Mill in the town’s iconic Weavers’ Triangle, which will combine traditional academic subjects with vocational training in engineering, science and construction. The UTC, sponsored by Training 2000, is the first of its kind in Lancashire and one of 12 to open in England this year. This year 106 students are expected to start at the college when its doors open next Thursday.
Visions Learning Trust includes four science lab workshops for engineering and prototyping, an electronics and pneumatics studio, a lecture theatre, two Computer Aided Design (CAD) suites, two Information and Communications Technology (ICT) studios, a business suite, multi-function hall and a 200-seat restaurant. Original features of the mill such as the chimney and original floorboards have been retained.
The UTC also includes a thematic hub which will play host to each of the employer and university-led challenges planned throughout the year.
Managing director Mr Martin Callagher said: “I’m really excited. I’ve been in post for just on a year. I really liked the look of the challenge. UTCs are still a relatively new concept in education. We have a 15-mile catchment area.”
Council leader Julie Cooper added: “It’s exciting for Burnley and Burnley’s young people. What impresses me most about it is bringing together the old and the new.”
The town’s MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “I was here at the start of this process looking at a derelict mill. This fantastic training centre will deliver young people of the future with the skills that we need.”