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Revealed: City location for Norfolk University Technical College

PUBLISHED: 17:24 10 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:21 10 January 2013

Artists impression of Norfolk University Technical College which is due to open in September 2014.

Artists impression of Norfolk University Technical College which is due to open in September 2014.


An enormous disused factory on the outskirts of Norwich is set to be transformed into one of the government’s flagship university technical colleges (UTC) by September 2014.

The Norfolk UTC, which was approved by ministers last year, will be part of the Transforming Education in Norfolk group led by chief executive Dick Palmer and run in partnership with Norwich City College, the University of East Anglia, Group Lotus, Gardline and Future Marine Services.

TEN has announced the college would be based in the 5,400 sq m former Connaught factory at Old Hall Road, between Hall Road and Ipswich Road, in Norwich.

Mr Palmer said the college had been given £7m of government funding to transform the empty factory and buy equipment needed for the UTC. He said he would have liked more but believed the expertise and support of sponsors would ensure the end result was impressive.

“We’re absolutely confident it will be a stunning, iconic institution once we are there in August 2014,” he said.

Norfolk UTC will cater for up to 600 students – with 150 being admitted in the first year – aged 14 to 19. It will concentrate on arming pupils for the skills needed to pursue careers in engineering, energy and manufacturing.

Students would work towards GCSEs and the government’s new English Baccalaureate qualifications in the first two years before choosing either an academic or vocational route, focused on the UTC’s three key disciplines, from year 12 onwards.

But Mr Palmer said the Old Hall Road building conversion would make it clear students were not learning in a traditional classroom environment. Plans for the site include a prototype development laboratory, computer-aided design studios and research centres.

“That mezzanine floor and the floor underneath it will take about half of the main building,” said Mr Palmer. “The second half will have the really big equipment in it – the really hard engineering and manufacturing stuff. We will be able to bring in specific pieces of equipment to help students learn. There will be a double-height entrance so if we wanted to look at an articulated lorry, we could drive it into that space.”

UTC students would work through a series of “technical challenges” set by companies to ensure they leave with practical skills as well as official qualifications.

Mr Palmer, who stepped down from his role as principal at City College Norwich last year to become chief executive for the TEN group, said: “We have already designed some of those with people like Gardline and have already mapped some of the challenges against, for example, the English Baccalaureate qualification.

“So if students were looking at getting a data cable from an offshore turbine to the power source inland, we have mapped what maths would be involved, the English skills it would cover, even the history.”

John Morse, of Norfolk UTC partner Gardline, added: “The Norfolk UTC is what we and other employers in advanced engineering and the energy sector have been seeking for some time.”


  • 3 things I see have to be done for this to be a good site. 1. Build a railway station at the track next to it. It isn't that busy a line, stations are quite cheap if you don't get Network Rail to build them. Anyone who says it's too busy a line to schedule a stop is talking rubbish. 2. Footpath to Tesco. At least half the students and the faculty will want to eat somewhere other than the canteen. 3. Bus routes, I think that's pretty obvious really.

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    Thursday, January 10, 2013

  • As I understand it, bus routes have been approved already. A train station - now that would be excellent!

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    Thursday, January 10, 2013

  • Where are the plumbers.where are the elecritians.the salemen.the cleaners,the shop workers,the people who make the world work

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

  • Interesting how the city council objected to Asda just up the road on the grounds of traffic levels, etc, but everyone is happy with a technical college, even though it'll have the same (or more) levels of vehicle movements. Worse, really, as they'll be concentrated at two times of the day cause even further gridlock.

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    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Not sure how the traffic movements for this can be compared to those of Asda. Why would there be more traffic than Asda? I'd be surprised if traffic and accessibility had been ignored as part of the planning to bring this to fruition, so we should be careful about criticising before all details are known. What is important is what is trying to be achieved, this appears to be a really exciting, innovative approach to education with students coming out of it with really valuable skills in addition to their educational qualifiactions. This can only be a good thing if it helps young people make their way in the world of work. Why do we always have to look at the negative? we should focus on the positive and then work constructively to minimise any potential problems. It's also good to see a disused site having life breathed back into it. There's always plenty in the press about lack of opportunities for young people in the area, but in fact it's not that there are a lack of opportunities but rather we have a lack of appropriately skilled peoople who can take up the jobs on offer. despite what you read, not every industry is having a hard time, so we need to make sure our kids know about where there are opportunities and what they need to be able to access them. the UTC looks like it could make a valuable contribution towards helping them to be well prepared and therefore give themselves the best chance.

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    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Hmm...parking issues maybe?

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    City Boy

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Albert, they're busy doing their jobs, hopefully.

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    Thursday, January 10, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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