His Royal Highness The Duke of York opened UTC (University Technical College) Swindon earlier today.
The Queen’s middle son met with students, teachers, directors and business partners of UTC Swindon, before being shown around the college by its Principal. He visited the labs and engineering workshops, while taking in the marvelous architecture of the building. Also present at the event were the Directors of Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Oxford Brookes University, both of whom sponsor UTC Swindon.
UTC Swindon Principal, Angela Barker-Dench, said: “The official opening of the college is an historic moment for UTC Swindon – and another milestone in the town’s heritage. His Royal Highness has a passion for engineering, manufacturing and apprenticeships. He shares our beliefs about skills and preparing students for the workplace or University.”
The Duke of York is Patron of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust. In this role, he encourages parents and others who surround and interact with young people to support them as they develop and help them reach their potential. He himself supports enterprise-focused education and works towards allowing providers to promote their opportunities.
UTC Swindon boasts a £10 million state-of-the-art facility, with the Old School Building and Water Tower still prominently featured. Both structures are Grade II listed, and are being treated with care. The Water Tower, especially, is being restored with the view to bring it back into educational use.
The college, which offers students an engineering based education, first opened its doors in September. Prince Andrew first visited the campus when it was being built last year, and then again in February of this year, while it was still under construction. He said that he was pleased to have been invited back.
Before he left, The Duke unveiled a plaque, to commemorate his visit and officially open the college.
Earlier this week, Prince Andrew hosted The Duke of York Award for Technical Education at St. James’ Palace, to celebrate the achievements of students in UTC’s across the country. This year, 120 students received the Award from His Royal Highness, with two students receiving special awards – the Outstanding Progress Award went to Danish Akram, while James Gratton won the Outstanding Achievement Award.