Support is building among North East businesses for a University Technical College to be based on Teesside

Most recently, the North East STEM Foundation has received support from WSP for its campaign for a UTC in the region.

This support comes as part of NESF's broader initiative to create modern, high-quality STEM-focused environments for students in collaboration with local businesses. Alongside WSP, the Foundation has secured support from more than 20 businesses, including other high-profile employers such as Wilton Universal Group, Durata and Willmott Dixon, and is encouraging more to get behind the plan.

WSP, a world-leading multi-disciplinary professional services consultancy, employs around 9,000 people in its UK business with over 30 offices across the country. Providing engineering, planning, environmental and strategic advisory support to a range of public and private sector clients across the built and natural environments. WSP has a growing footprint in the North East, particularly in industry, energy transition and transport.

Its Teesside office has supported the Foundation in a variety of ways, including by providing STEM mentors to the students at UTC South Durham and participating in various fundraising initiatives.

UTCs are government-funded institutions designed to provide education in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) alongside traditional GCSEs and A Levels. They play a crucial role in preparing students for the demands of the 21st-century workforce by working closely with local universities and employers.

More than 50 UTCs have been established across England, supported by in excess of 400 employers and universities, educating around 19,000 students. The proposed UTC on Teesside would follow the success of its counterparts in Newcastle and Newton Aycliffe, contributing to the region's educational and economic advancement.

Tania Cooper, chair of the NESF, said: “We are delighted that WSP is supporting us in our endeavours to establish a UTC on Teesside, which will help us enable the development of the future workforce for generations to come.

"Teesside is benefiting from exciting forward-thinking growth and significant investment, which is key to the economic development of the area, meaning there has never been a better time to invest in our young people.

“Through building partnerships with local businesses, we will provide people in the North East with practical and transferable skills that will equip them with specialist technical skills and knowledge to serve increasing demand on Teesside.

"WSP Teesside's support amplifies our collective commitment to shaping a future where every young person can thrive in a dynamic and evolving workforce, contributing to the prosperity of Teesside and beyond."

Faye Ward, Director at WSP, said: “Teesside is currently experiencing substantial growth which brings significant economic opportunities through increased investment and employment. As such, there is a need to generate high levels of skilled recruitment and technical expertise in the region.

"It’s important therefore that students and trainees are offered every opportunity through the education and skills system to enable them to play their part in the development of the UK’s green economy."