THE principal of the new University Technical College has urged more girls to come forward and sign up for a place when it opens in September.

There have been more than 160 applications so far, with just over 100 letters sent out offering youngsters a place.

The UTC is set to open this year for students aged from 14-19 and while a full curriculum will be offered, there is going to be a focus on engineering.

However, of all the applications so far, only about 10 per cent are girls and the principal, Angela Barker-Dench, is calling on female students who may be undecided on what to do next year to give the subject a chance.

She said: “The response overall has so far been very good. Applications are still coming in and we are still sending out offers of a place but so far most of them are for boys.

“I want to get the message out that engineering is not only for males but everyone. Over the two year groups there is about a 50-50 split between applicants which is good and there are still places available for those who want to apply.

“Anyone who is interested, especially girls, should get in contact.”

Angela, who has a background in engineering, said: “I find it a fascinating subject. There is a perception that engineering is a male dominated world but that is not the case.

“We will soon be getting several female engineers from our partners to talk about their experience and putting it on our website so girls can see the possibilities.

“There are so many strands to engineering that there is bound to be something they are interested in. Obviously everyone is still welcome to apply.”

The site is located on Bristol Street, at the former GWR school building and a £10 million refurbishment is well underway, ready for the September opening.

The construction will see the new building put inside the frame of the old structure as well as the restoration of the iconic water tower.

“The work is coming along really well and everything is on track,” said Angela.

“We have started on the internal building and the restoration work will hopefully start in the next couple of weeks.”

Open evenings are due to be held on March 13 and March 27 in which Angela will explain the curriculum and staff from the UTC will be on hand to talk about the specialist engineering education. If you are interested in applying for a place at the UTC email or download an application form from For more information call UTC Swindon on 07990 601 516.