WORK on the new University Technical College is progressing well with more than 200 youngsters now having either signed up or expressed an interest in joining.

The UTC is set to open in September offering students aged between 14 and 19 the chance to have an engineering focused education.

It is currently being built on the site of the former Mill Site, off Bristol Street, within the walls of the original Great Western School.

Despite an initially slow start, demand for places has picked up in recent months and now the principal, Angela Barker-Dench, is urging anyone who may still be thinking about joining to get in contact.

There was also concern about the number of females applying but following a concerted campaign, the numbers are starting to equal themselves out.

Angela said: “We have had over 200 students from Swindon and many of the surrounding towns and villages express interest ahead of the new academic year and spaces are filling up rapidly.

“We get inquisitive parents and students at our open evenings and ringing us on a daily basis asking questions about the college, and of course we are happy to answer all of their questions.

“There has been a positive mix of students applying and accepting our offers. We have had a good response from female applicants with more interest coming in all the time.”

This Is Wiltshire:

College principal Angela Barker-Dench

On top of the demand from students, a recruitment drive for staff was also met with equal enthusiasm. A deputy head has also now been appointed and starts the job today.

“There has been a huge amount of interest,” said Angela.

“We recently held a recruitment day which attracted over 200 people. It was so encouraging to see that it is not only students who believe in what we are trying to accomplish but there are established teaching professionals recognising that UTC Swindon is going to be a great place to work.

“Now that everything is coming to fruition everyone is extremely excited. As principal I am tremendously proud of what everyone has done to reach this point, whilst my own job role has surpassed all expectations, it is very gratifying to be involved in such a great project.”

The construction of the UTC is also progressing on schedule. Much of the external work has been completed so the fittings are now being put in place and work on restoring the iconic water tower is expected to start by the end of the month.

For any parents or students still interested, an open evening is being held on Wednesday, April 23 at Oxford Brookes University Ferndale Campus. The open evening will take place from 6.30pm until 8pm.