Students study EAL qualifications alongside GCSEs and A Levels

The first intake of over 100 pupils has landed at Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC (University Technical College) where they will study industry-leading qualifications and gain hands-on experience alongside traditional examinations, giving them a flying start to a career in engineering.

The EAL Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations and the EAL Level 2 First Diploma in Engineering Technology will be studied alongside GCSEs and A Levels at Heathrow UTC in Northwood, North West London, which opened its doors this week.

Julia Chippendale, managing director of EAL, the specialist, employer-recognised awarding organisation for the engineering, manufacturing, building services and related sectors, said: “EAL is delighted to be working alongside our industry partners to develop qualifications which add a new dimension to the school curriculum.

“This is an exciting new era for the teaching of technical skills and Heathrow UTC will transform the opportunities for young people who aspire to enter a career in engineering. It will keep the talent pipeline flowing in the aviation sector, bringing skills which are critical to the future of the UK’s economy.”

Heathrow UTC caters for students aged 14-19. It has developed its curriculum with its employer partners - British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and RAF Northolt - creating courses which combine academic and technical excellence with motivational, work-related learning experiences to improve students’ employability within the engineering sector.

Students joining the UTC at 14 will spend 40% of their time doing technical qualifications and gaining hands-on experience, alongside studying for GCSEs.

Post-16 students will spend 60% of their time on engineering studies including hands-on projects with the UTC’s employer partners, work placements and the opportunity of apprenticeships.  They will study for A Levels, alongside EAL’s industry qualifications using the apprenticeship framework developed by skills organisation Enginuity .

Heathrow UTC’s Principal, Bryan Berry said: “Our students will experience an exciting and vibrant learning environment that encourages and develops independent thought, self-discipline, motivation and confidence.

“Our partnership with EAL is a key component in our curriculum as it will equip our students with highly regarded industry-led qualifications which will not only help gain them entry into the aviation sector but also give them the skills to enter a wide variety of engineering careers.

“We are delighted to be open and we look forward to the day our first intake complete their studies, ready to apply what they have learned in the workplace.”

Brunel University London is also sponsoring Heathrow UTC, providing the Higher Education link to its students, while other partners include the Aviation Skills Partnership -  created to transform the approach to skills and career development in the aviation sector – the QED Academy Trust, Uxbridge College and Hillingdon Borough Council.

Aviation Skills Partnership’s chief executive Simon Witts said: “I am delighted that this pioneering project has now reached the exciting stage where the first group of students are embarking on their learning.  We first became involved in the UTC project in November 2013 and since then our partnership with the UTC, the industry partners and with EAL has resulted in the production of a curriculum for aviation engineering that has the right blend of academic and industry elements.  

“I am confident that with the rich subject areas and disciplines on offer for the students, they will achieve the right blend of practical and academic skills that the industry needs. 

“We will continue to develop the curriculum as the programme develops and look forward to developing our relationship with EAL further alongside our other partners.”

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