Cath Hurst,  Principal of Wigan and Leigh College, and businessman Martin Ainscough
Cath Hurst, Principal of Wigan and Leigh College, and businessman Martin Ainscough
Wigan University Technical College
04 April 2012

A new vision to create a state-of-the-art University Technical College (UTC) in Wigan took a giant leap forward today.
Consultation has now begun on an exciting educational concept which plans to take hands-on training and academic qualifications to a new level.

Backed by Wigan based multi-millionaire businessman, Martin Ainscough, with support by sponsors at Wigan and Leigh College and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the new Wigan UTC aims to blend modern day curriculums, a greater emphasis on work placement and state-of-the-art facilities.

Mr Ainscough, who sold his Ainscough Crane Hire business in 2007, is the business sponsor for Wigan UTC.
He said: "This is about learning to work. I remember many times in school thinking ‘how is this subject relevant to me…will it help me be successful?’ and quite often the answer was ‘no’.
"I am extremely keen to make Wigan UTC a place where young people not only achieve academically but also a place where they gain hands on experience and learn good old fashioned work ethics."

Mr Ainscough added: "We’re extremely keen to hear people’s views on our proposals as part of this consultation process and would encourage them to take the time to visit our website and fill in a questionnaire."
That work ethos will be reflected in the core hours with the UTC operating business hours rather than school hours.
Aimed at 14 -19 year-olds, each student will have their own individual learning plan covering a full range of academic and vocational qualifications.

The UTC will specialise in "process engineering and environmental technology" and have a strong focus on work-based learning and entrepreneurship. Students will also be encouraged to support charities, fund raising activities and take part in voluntary work.

Cath Hurst OBE, Principal from the UTC’s co-sponsor Wigan and Leigh College, said: "This is a very exciting initiative for the borough which offers students at 14 and 16 something different. Wigan and Leigh College is keen to work with our business sponsors and UCLan to support this."

Dr Graham Baldwin, UCLan’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: "UCLan are delighted to be involved in the project. Employability and enterprise are key themes at UCLan and the UTC provides an ideal opportunity to develop these at an early age along with an additional range of academic qualifications. We want to work with our partners to make this the ideal proposition for the students futures, whether in work, college or university."

A site on New Market Street, near Wigan and Leigh College (Parson’s Walk), has been provisionally identified as a potential site for the UTC which will accommodate 500 students and is proposed to open in 2013.
Wigan UTC’s specialisms have been chosen specifically to support the regional economy and enhance future job prospects of students.

For more information and to fill in a consultation questionnaire visit