Brighton education charity given approval to build university technical college

Posted On 25 Jul 2014 at 11:41 am

The educational charity that sponsors two Brighton schools has been given planning permission to set up a university technical college (UTC) in Newhaven.

The Aldridge Foundation hopes to open the UTC in September next year with backing from another local educational institution, Brighton University.

Building plans for the £12 million UTC project were approved at a meeting of Lewes District Council Planning Committee on Wednesday 16 July. The council is also a partner in the project along with Veolia Environmental Services.

The government gave permission for the construction of the Rampion wind farm on the same day.

The timing delighted those setting up the UTC as it will specialise in marine engineering and renewable energy technology for 14 to 18-year-olds. Students are expected to come from a wide area which includes Brighton and Hove.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher

Honor Wilson-Fletcher

The focus will be on the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in response to growing demand for suitably skilled workers from the marine engineering and environmental technology sectors locally.

The building work involves converting and extending the grade II listed marine workshop and carpenters workshops at Railway Quay in Newhaven and demolishing other less significant structures on the site.

The Planning Committee also approved a proposal to create a riverside boardwalk alongside the college which is known UTC@harbourside.

Applications are now open for places in years 10 and 12 at the college. It aims to give students a head start in the jobs market or in applying to university or for apprenticeships. There will also be a focus on employability and entrepreneurialism.

Aldridge Foundation chief executive Honor Wilson-Fletcher said: “Planning approval and the recommendation for listed buildings consent put us on track for converting this important site in the heart of Newhaven into a wonderful college that gives students the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs market.

“UTC@harbourside is ideally placed to help young people develop the qualifications, skills and experience that will be required to support the Rampion wind farm, for example, and other renewable energy, environmental and marine employers in the region.”

The Aldridge Foundation was set up by the millionaire businessman Sir Rod Aldridge, who went to school in Portslade.

The foundation sponsors the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) in Falmer and the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) in Mile Oak.

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