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Lord Kenneth Baker to unveil world’s first vertical farm

08 April 2013

The former Home Secretary and Minister of State for Education and Science Kenneth Baker will be talking to local businesses at the site of Wigan University Technical College (UTC) on 9 April 2013. 

Lord Baker, a founder of the UTC concept, will be visiting the site and the adjoining Wigan Youth Zone as part of an open day aimed at driving interest and support from local businesses, prospective students and their families. 

As well as Lord Baker, other people speaking during the day include Justin Kelly, Director of Strategy at Siemens, Peter Whitfield of Appetite for Engineering and Phil Crompton Technology Engineering Manager, Heinz Europe, Middle East & Africa. They will be talking about the importance of giving young people the skills and experience to enter industries such as food and drink and build a career. 

Chris Hatherall, Principal at Wigan UTC, said: “Young people are often castigated for not having the skills that employers are looking for, when in reality it is our responsibility as educators to ensure that they have that critical employability. By working with businesses, both local and global, we can ensure that what we teach our students is relevant for their careers and lives beyond the UTC.”

The Wigan UTC opens its doors in September 2013, offering young people aged 14 to 18 the opportunity to gain an alternative education to that offered by schools and colleges focused on the national curriculum. Supported by Martin Ainscough, the UTC aims to offer employment-focused training specialising in Process Engineering and Environmental Technologies, with input and support from companies from the local area, and support from the University of Central Lancashire and Wigan & Leigh College. 

Part of its facilities include one of the world’s first working vertical farms, which students will work on to supply a food processing factory at the UTC. Soups and cooking sauces produced in the factory by the students will be distributed to local people, including the homeless, elderly and those on low incomes. 

University Technical Colleges are a new concept in education. They offer 14-18 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technically oriented course of study. They are equipped to the highest standard, sponsored by a university and offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work.

Businesses are invited to come along to hear the talks from 09.30 Tuesday 9 April at the Wigan Youth Zone on Parsons Walk, Wigan, WN1 1RU. Further information can be found here.

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