A pioneering Wolverhampton school at the forefront of providing young people with a unique combination of excellent academic achievements alongside first class preparation for future careers is set to be extended by Morgan Sindall Construction.
The main contractor has been awarded a £12.5m contract to expand Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC) by the Department for Education (DfE), and the Thomas Telford Multi-Academy Trust which operates the UTC. Funding for the UTC is from the DfE with a contribution from the City of Wolverhampton Council.
Based at the University of Wolverhampton’s Springfield site — Europe’s largest construction education campus — the expanded UTC will be built alongside the institution’s School of Architecture & the Built Environment (SOABE), and the new National Brownfield Institute, which is currently being developed.
Designed by Associated Architects, the 4,500 sq m extension comprises a three-storey teaching building and a separate sports hall facility with a reconfigured and enhanced external social space and multi-use games area. The design is sympathetic to the Springfield conservation area and features a profiled metal cladding system with a sawtooth-pitched roof.
The work will enable the school to increase its intake by 450 additional pupils taking the total capacity to 1,050, while supporting at least 50 additional roles for teaching and support staff.
The expanded sports and activity spaces will facilitate the delivery of a full secondary academic syllabus, allowing pupils aged 11-18 years old to be taught at the UTC. Crucially, students will also study a range of technical options in the built environment, including architecture, design and innovation.
The Principal of Thomas Telford University Technical College, Av Gill said: “We are extremely excited by this opportunity to bring a gold standard in education to Wolverhampton and are very happy to be working alongside Morgan Sindall Construction as our chosen contractor.”
The school’s Vice Principal, Simon Maxfield, has collaborated with the DfE’s Construction Education Advisory Board to develop the brand-new T-level qualifications in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction, which launches this September.
Morgan Sindall Construction was also enlisted by the Government four years ago as one of the main industry voices shaping the design of T-levels. A key element of T-levels is industry placements and the main contractor will be supporting two of the UTC’s students during the build process.
In addition to the T-level placements, the site team will be engaging with the wider school and providing further work experience opportunities as part of its commitment to social value. Morgan Sindall Construction will also be guaranteeing new job starts for at least four unemployed workers and routing 75% of spend through local subcontractors as part of the project’s social value plan.
Richard Fielding, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The ongoing renaissance of the Springfield site is a perfect example of education-led regeneration. The campus is quickly becoming a national centre of excellence for the built environment and is the ideal setting for the new construction T-level to be taught from.
“Expanding the facilities to deliver a wider syllabus will enable pupils to consider the school and the rewarding career pathways that vocational training can unlock from an earlier age. It has been the poor relation of university education for too long, but holds the key to addressing skills shortages in multiple industries, not least construction, while providing rewarding, skilled careers for the next generation.
“We’re incredibly pleased to be delivering this landmark project and look forward to welcoming our first T-level placement students.”
Construction work is now underway and expected to complete in August 2022. Consultants on the scheme include structural engineers Copeland Wedge Associates and M&E Design Consultant Couch Perry Wilkes.