Vice principal named as new college takes shape
A TEACHER with a background in engineering has been chosen as the new vice principal of the £7.9million University Technical College Plymouth.
Pete Robinson will move to the new-concept college, which will specialise in teaching marine technology and manufacturing, from his current post as head of engineering at Devonport High School for Boys.
His appointment comes as construction work continues apace at the UTC-site, on the plot of the old Parkside School in Devonport, with it scheduled to open in September.
Mr Robinson's appointment follows that of principal Mary Cox, who started work in November.
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But whereas Mrs Cox has spent her career in education, Mr Robinson also has a background in engineering.
He has more than 18 years experience in engineering, which began when he was 17 in the tool room at the now-closed Gleason Cutting Tools factory in Estover.
After learning a trade in manufacturing engineering, Mr Robinson returned to education at Plymouth University and then trained as a secondary school teacher.
"I always knew I'd follow my passion for engineering in my career," he said. "I worked my way up through the industry before deciding to become a teacher in my chosen subject.
"I felt I could offer students the benefit of first-hand industry experience, coupled with the necessary theory."
The UTC is one of 32 being set up by the Government nationally in a bid to train the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.
It will mix classroom learning with sessions in the workshop and lab, with courses delivered in collaboration with leading employers and organisations including Princess Yachts, Babcock Marine and Plymouth Manufacturers Group.
Mr Robinson said: "UTC Plymouth is unique.
"We are creating a college that is completely in-tune with employer needs and as such, it's crucial those involved have knowledge and experience in the industry."
Mr Robinson will have the key task of nurturing the engineering ethos at the academy and creating the curriculum.
He has already been responsible for managing a technology curriculum at DHSB and Notre Dame Roman Catholic School, and been involved in training and support for engineering city wide.
Mr Robinson recently returned from a trip to Abu Dhabi where DHSB was world finalist in the "Formula 1 in Schools" challenge.
Mrs Cox said: "Pete brings a unique mix of skills and experience that means that our students will experience an innovative learning environment, focused on the reality of the engineering and manufacturing industries."
Meanwhile, work on-site at UTC Plymouth is on schedule with the former gymnasium block now demolished and a steel skeleton in place for a new entrance and admin area leading to labs.
Brian Warren, project leader for UTC Plymouth, said: "Everything is driving on. It's on a roll, we are moving at a fast pace."
Cllr Nicky Williams, Plymouth City Council's Cabinet member for children and young people, said: "It's hard to believe there are only nine months until UTC Plymouth opens.
"This exciting new kind of school will offer young people a dynamic and different way to learn the skills needed to become engineers of the future.
"We welcome Pete and his invaluable skills and experience to the school – students are sure to benefit from his in-depth knowledge of the industry."
Pupil enrolment is also well under way and young people due to enter Years 10 and 12 next September can find out more by visiting www.utcplymouthorg
The next parent and student open evening will be held next month.