Lords Visit to support UTC

North Liverpool Academy welcomed former Minister of Merseyside, Lord Heseltine and former Education Secretary, Lord Baker to a showcase held yesterday for a brand new Life Sciences University Technical College based right here in Liverpool, due to open September 2013.

UTCs are university and business-sponsored colleges for 14 to 19-year-olds, combining practical and academic studies. Employers shape the curriculum, set projects and offer work placements.

Guest speakers from the industry were invited to showcase the growth in the Life Sciences sector and promoted the need for the region to fill a skills gap in order to ensure Merseyside competes in a global market.

Liverpool currently employs 6500 people in the Life Sciences sector, producing over $2 billion worth of products each year. Geoff Wainwright, 2Bio Ltd, emphasised how the region needs to produce science focused young people in order to supply the life sciences sector with students that are technically skilled in science.

In addition to Geoff Wainwright, NLA was proud to welcome guest speakers Helen Jackson from Liverpool BioCampus, Neil Murray of Red X Pharma and John Flamson from the University of Liverpool.

Lord Heseltine, who in a new report called for business officials to approve courses run by further education colleges so they “reflect local labour requirements” – said he was impressed with the UTC due to open in the Contemporary Urban Centre at the heart of the Baltic Triangle next year.

He added: “It is good for the employers as they get the people they need and good for the young people as it means there will be a job for them when they come through the education system.”

Before joining Lord Heseltine for a tour of the academy’s science laboratories and a chance to join in experiments, Lord Baker, co-founder of The Baker Dearing Educational Trust which promotes UTCs, said: “This is going to provide huge opportunities and revolutionise the lives of young people in Liverpool and is one of a growing number of vocational specialist schools.”