JOHN Syvret and his team at Cammell Lairds are now working hard to reform technical education on Wirral.
They are is leading a consortium, backed by other employers, Mersey Maritime Group, the Universities, Wirral Council and educationalists, that is bidding to establish for a new University Technical College.
The Germans began serious technical education in schools well before the 20th century. And despite the 1944 Butler Act, well over half a century later, technical education never really took off here. The purpose of the Baker Dearing Trust, of which I am a Trustee, is to make technical education a real option for young people.
Already a number of University Technical Colleges have been established and early in the new year the government will announce another ten.
The first results from the colleges are encouraging. On average they seem to be on course to gain 70% five GCSEs including English and maths.
In one or two areas heads were known to try and persuade their difficult students to opt for their UTC. Yet attendance at those already established is better than their mainstream counterparts, even though the college day is longer and there are fewer holidays. This is a real opportunity for Wirral and I am so glad that Cammell Laird, one of Birkenhead’s most successful businesses, has worked to ensure its success. We should know in the spring if Birkenhead has landed this education prize.