The Leigh UTC is a University Technical College for 14-19 year olds based in Dartford, Kent. The Leigh UTC opened in 2014 to specialise in Engineering and Computer Sciences, whilst focusing on offering students additional opportunities by implementing and delivering vocational projects.
It is proven at The Leigh UTC that the project-based approach helps to develop a student’s understanding of real world issues and creates life-long learning experiences for the 21st Century workplace.
Since opening in 2014, The Leigh UTC began delivering digital skills and certifications across a variety of industry-recognised technologies. In October 2017, The Leigh UTC strengthened their commitment to developing the digital skills of students through the introduction of their Professional Qualification (PQ) timetabled lessons.
The idea of PQ was to engage both staff and students in the digital skills program to help increase digital productivity, but also increase employability prospects for learners by validating their digital skills on products such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk.
The PQ program is spearheaded by Ayo Ogunrekun with support from Harroop Sandhu, who work with students to develop and certify their digital skills in the respective programs to enhance their student’s employability prospects.
Ayo Ogunrekun (Computer Science teacher and IT Apprenticeship Coordinator, The Leigh UTC) said “Committing to the mentorship and development of students on the PQ program is incredibly rewarding when I see the students across the UTC develop their digital prowess. The success which has come from the students participating in the PQ program has meant it has gathered fantastic momentum and resulted in engaging more students to develop key digital skills”.
Harroop Sandhu (Deputy Head of College, The Leigh UTC) said: “The development of the PQ program has seen over 100 certification exams sat over the past 5 months with a pass rate that exceeds 80%. This is significant progress since we started the Leigh UTC in 2014. Providing the opportunity for students to excel in these qualifications ties in with our vision of developing STEM professionals for the future global market. We look forward to the next stage of widening participation both with in our school, amongst all key stages, and also within our local community.”
Chris Desborough, Account Manager (Prodigy Learning) added: “The commitment and mentorship which Ayo and Harroop have put into the PQ program is hugely evident through the success and impact which having certification has had for students who’ve completed the program. The Leigh UTC’s success is one which we are delighted they could showcase at our recent UTC Future Ready Skills event in Microsoft Training Academy. Sharing the UTC’s success enabled the other leaders to get an insight into the powerful impact delivering digital skills certifications can have on students and staff. The Leigh UTC have further ambitions with the program and are looking into various options from running test fests locally to offering exams to the wider community.”
The real impact can be seen through the personal accounts of students who have been able to use their digital skills certifications to benefit their educational and professional development. Below in the download success story pdf, these students tell their own stories of how earning globally, industry-recognised certifications in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk through the PQ program is helping them progress professional careers.