How do we develop practical industry skills for future generations?

11 Jan 2023
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How do we develop practical industry skills for future generations?

How do we develop practical industry skills for future generations?

In episode six of our second series of Let’s Talk South Coast, our host Nella Pang is joined by Alex Blandford, Assistant Principal at UTC Portsmouth to talk about how community technology colleges partner with local businesses to help develop curriculums that instil key skills to the future workforce.

What you’ll hear about in this episode:

  • The different UTC sites and what they are trying to achieve within the local community
  • How these colleges are funded
  • Their aim to help students to consider the next steps within their careers/education
  • How an ageing population and growing skills gap provide an opportunity for students
  • How students are educated to industry standards, rather than just educational ones, so they come out into the workplace with hands-on, practical experience
  • The STEM learning habits they teach their students 
  • Their ambition to bring UTC to Southampton and why Alex thinks this is so important
  • Their primary outreach program that works to promote STEM within the local area


Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • There’s actually 46 other UTCs, so 47 in total all across the country, and we’ve all got the same remit in that we are looking to fulfil a shortfall in the local workforce. – Alex
  • The easiest way to look at it is we’re funded, the same as any other state school. The difference is we are backed by industry partners. – Alex
  • Our mantra is to do the right thing by the students. I wouldn’t say we’re not interested in league tables, but it’s not our thing. We naturally, because of our focus on destinations, do quite well on them. But just flip your mindset, think about this student journey. Think about this as a stepping stone, not an end goal. – Alex
  • We’ve proved the model works and we’ve made UTC Portsmouth a real beacon of STEM in the local community. – Alex
  • We currently engage with 11 local primary schools  and we are really keen to expand that to secondary schools as our outreach program grows. – Alex

About Our Guest: 

Alex Blandford is the Assistant Principal at UTC Portsmouth, a specialist STEM College. Prior to this he was Head of Department at Springfield School.

Companies Mentioned:

Shout Outs:

About Our Host: 

Nella Pang

I left the corporate world in 2020 and launched Omega RE a commercial advisory firm in a pandemic, whilst on maternity. Brave some people would say. 🚀

The pandemic has taught many of us a thing or two, particularly on how we can do business. I support businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate, so they can achieve their business objectives through their Real Estate decisions.

Lease negotiations can be a minefield. Even small mistakes can drive up costs. That’s why I will represent your interests every step of the way, ensuring you receive full value of our experience and market knowledge.

With over 18 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Market having worked for the big corporates Jones Lang LaSalle Limited, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Vail Williams.

I want to be able to share my corporate knowledge with my clients, whilst offering a more personal dedicated commercial advisory service.

Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals. I love meeting people and I am passionate about adding value to my clients business and watching their business thrive.

About Omega RE

Omega RE is a commercial property advisory firm based on the South Coast. Providing expert advice to Landlords, Occupiers in the industrial, office and retail markets.

Omega RE is always thinking ‘Outside the Box’ in our advice to clients and the way we do business. We don’t settle for mediocre, we challenge the norm and are dedicated to finding solutions that is best for our clients.

We are a people business, based on strong relationships and partnerships, and we offer a personal level of service.

As the market evolves, we will too adapt to be successful and want the same for our clients. We are committed to finding innovative ways of marketing and how to do things more efficiently.

We will never stagnate.

We are disciplined in everything we do, we take time to understand the situation and set a bespoke strategy for each client. Not one size fits all. We do not cut corners or take shortcuts and our integrity is undisputed.

Providing clients’ a hands-on approach to finding the perfect property; office, industrial, warehouse or retail space to meet business needs and negotiating the best commercial lease terms, is what we do best.

We come to work because we’re passionate about providing expert, innovative, independent advice to clients. We want to help businesses navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate.

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