The Duke has agreed to give his name to a new award to recognise excellence in technical education, created by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and launched during HRH’s visit to Blackcountry UTC on 8th July 2013.
The first Awards will be presented by The Duke of York later this year at Buckingham Palace to students currently studying at the Black Country UTC and JCB Academy, Rocester (Staffordshire). Nearly 200 students are expected to qualify for Awards this year.
Bronze and Silver Duke of York Awards are based on achievements in GCSEs and level 1 or 2 technical qualifications, while the Gold Award is based on A levels and/or level 3 technical qualifications.
The Awards also recognise the completion of work experience placements and the development of wider competences required in the workplace such as communication skills, problem solving and taking responsibility.
Every successful candidate will receive a certificate bearing The Duke of York’s crest. The certificate will incorporate a QR code, which can be used to access an online personalised record of the qualifications and achievements which contributed to the Award.
Lord Baker, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said:
“BDT is honoured that The Duke of York has lent support to this new Award, which will be a genuine badge of excellence. Awards will only ever be made to students who follow a rigorous technical curriculum, supported by real-world projects, challenges and work experience with leading employers.
“Not only will the Award be a source of great pride, but it will bring practical benefits too. At interviews, for example, employers will be able to verify qualifications and achievements there and then by scanning the QR code.
“The Award rightly recognises a blend of qualifications, work experience and personal competences. It is a perfect match for University Technical Colleges, which emphasise all three.”
Lord Baker also welcomed the contribution made by the Engineering Council, Science Council and Gatsby Charitable Trust, joint authors of a competence framework which has been adapted for use in the pilot Award scheme. The Award will encourage holders to aspire to become professionally registered engineers, technicians or scientists in the future.
With the support of their UTC teachers and mentors, students assess and record the development of their competences. In addition, all students taking part in the pilot have been interviewed by representatives of BDT, using the competence framework as a benchmark.
The pilot will be extended to further University Technical Colleges in 2014/15. Subject to the outcome of the pilot, it may be widened at a later date to schools and colleges which offer a similar curriculum.