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Black Country Chamber Responds to Closure of Walsall University Technical College

Responding to the recent news that hundreds of students will have to be relocated following the closure of the Black Country University Technical College in Walsall, Martin Dudley, Chair of the Black Country chamber of Commerce Skills Policy Group and Managing Director of Thomas Dudley Ltd, said:

"This is a sad day for business education engagement in the area. We welcomed the UTC to Walsall as a source of supply for the manufacturing sector. Engineering skills are in short supply so this news is a bitter blow for students, parents and employers.

"We have been advocating for some time that we need young people to see engineering apprenticeships as a career opportunity that is equal to a university degree. This news proves that we have not yet created the local demand for engineering training on a sustainable basis, and business needs to be at the heart of this."

The UTC was closed as a result of a disappointing OFSTED inspection, low numbers of students and not enough resources. The Black Country Chamber of Commerce had run its own AGM from the UTC in the past and had supported the introduction of the specialist school.

Black Country Chamber of Commerce President said: "Something is seriously amiss if we cannot attract sufficient students into this kind of school at a time when employers are crying out for young people with technical skills. We were hoping that the UTC would overcome the literacy and numeracy issues that face young people as they leave school. Our employers remain disappointed that our 16 year olds are unable to read or add up.

"Education is a serious issue and the Chamber will be taking a lead to identify solutions to this problem."

Last modified on Thursday, 16 April 2015 13:34

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