Government called on to approve Doncaster UTC

Public and private sector business leaders urge Government to approve Doncaster’s bid for a much-needed University Technical College immediately.

Government called on to approve Doncaster UTC

The Government’s lack of decision regarding Doncaster’s University Technical College (UTC) bid has caused annoyance following the release of its industrial strategy.

While business leaders in the market town have welcomed many aspects of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, some are annoyed – given the focus on delivering STEM-based skills – by the lack of a decision regarding Doncaster’s University Technical College (UTC) bid. 

As such, Doncaster Chamber and other local business leaders are, yet again, calling on the Department for Education to grant the town’s proposal for a specialist technical college to give young people the skills that firms are crying out for.

A huge array of public and private sector businesses are backing the bid for the UTC which would support the Government’s own key objectives to improve social mobility, deliver a technical skills revolution, and support the development of the northern economy. 

However, the lack of a decision on the UTC is now making businesses question Government’s commitment to these policy aims.

Dan Fell, CEO of the Doncaster Chamber and is leading the town’s bid. He said: “The business community could not be clearer about the need for a UTC in Doncaster.

“For the last three years business leaders have given their unwavering support to the project.  Industry wants to partner with Government to deliver a technical skills revolution that will meet the needs of the economy but, sadly, we are finding that there seems to be a world of difference between the policy rhetoric and our experiences on the ground. 

“For Doncaster firms the imminent approval of the Doncaster UTC bid will now form a real acid test when it comes to assessing the credibility of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.  Put simply, we need a decision and we need one now.”

The project is strongly supported by a slew of businesses and organisations including Wabtec Rail, Keepmoat, Henry Boot Construction, Polypipe, Wirquin, Cementation Skanska, Agemaspark, Peter Brett Associates, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, the National College for High Speed Rail, and Doncaster College.

Each is writing to local and national MPs and politicians to put pressure on the Department for Education to give the green light for the College and to make abundantly clear their collective frustrations at the unacceptable delays the project has encountered.

Simon Carr, MD of Henry Boot Construction wrote a formal letter to Lord Agnew KT DL, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System.

It said: “Local partners and businesses are keen to see this project succeed with the backing of the Government to partner with us via the UTC to help deliver against its own objectives.

“We have concerns that our company will face challenges while the UTC project stalls, especially with regards to the skills gap and recruitment shortfall of young qualified people, particularly relating to the growth of the construction sector.” wrote

Local manufacturing, construction and rail engineering firms have informed Doncaster Chamber that they are experiencing problems with the talent pipeline for their industries.

The College, should it be approved, will provide a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) based curriculum to 750, 13 to 19 year olds and link them with local businesses to encourage future career opportunities, inclusive economic growth and social mobility.