Golden Apple Spotlight: Energy Coast UTC

Our first spotlight of a Golden Apple Award finalist is on the UTC itself, shortlisted for the Best Secondary School Award. Take a look at what we think makes the Energy Coast UTC so great.

The Energy Coast UTC

The Energy Coast UTC is a relatively new school, only opening in 2014, but after a rocky start is one of the highest achieving schools in the district, with 88% of our leavers going into apprenticeships in 2017 and the remainder going into work or further education.

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As a University Technical College, our focus is on Engineering and other STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Part of this is preparing our students for real life employment, with additional focus on employability and practical work experience, supported by our extensive industry partners.

Academic excellence

  • Our English GCSE results were 82% Grade 4 (the ‘old grade C’) and above – an increase of over 20% on 2016 results and well above the national of 65% and local Cumbria results.
  • GCSE Maths results were 79% Grade 4 and above, again a huge increase on 2016 results and well above national of 69% and Cumbria results.
  • GCSE separate science results (Chemistry, Biology and Physics) results were 100% grade A*-C, an incredible achievement for all students and staff.
  • At both GCSE and A level, out Engineering results were in the top percent nationally.

These results place the UTC right near the top of national and local results tables. Compared to all other UTCs nationally, our student progress figures are the second best in the whole country.


Readiness for work

Our students work with a wide range of local and national employers as part of our direct employer engagement strategies, where students get a wide range of employer experiences. We explicitly teach employability skills to our students and this shows in the destinations our young people go on to achieve.

In 2017, almost 88% of our year 13 leavers gained apprenticeships, a whopping 82% increase on the national figure of just 6% and 83% on the Cumbria wide figure of 5%. The remainder of our young people went in to employment or higher education with no students leaving without a job or education to go on to. We are incredibly proud of our students and staff for achieving these rates.

In fact, these rates are so highly unusual that the Energy Coast UTC was recently cited by Lord Baker in the House of Lords as an excellent example of technical education providing outstanding apprenticeships for young people.


Creativity and Innovation

The Energy Coast UTC was set up in partnership with Gen2 Training, Lakes College, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the University of Cumbria. Through our staff’s creativity and innovation our students benefit greatly from state of the art engineering facilities at Gen2 and from a huge range of projects working directly with local employers on a daily basis.

As part of our dedication to preparing our students for their next steps in Engineering, our Year 11 and Sixth Form students attend regular industry led workshops on CV and interview preparation, apprenticeships and the Energy Coast Engineering Sector. Several of our key partners have also delivered workshops with topics ranging from Project Management and Design to Civil and Mechanical engineering.

All Year 10 and 11 students complete GCSEs in English language, English literature, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. This is whilst also completing 3 distinct engineering qualifications: BTEC Level 2 Engineering, City and Guild Engineering and a new civil engineering qualification called “Design, Engineer, Construct!”, sponsored by Jacobs.

All Year 12 and 13 students study BTEC Level 3 Engineering alongside their A levels, choosing either a Civil or Mechanical / Electronic Pathway.

Enrichment Opportunities

We offer a range of enrichment activities designed to support and challenge students to try new things and expand their skills. For a full list of this year’s enrichment activities, click here.


Employer Engagement

We are dedicated to getting our students the best opportunities we can to prepare them for the world of work and engineering. To achieve this we work with several local companies who host regular employer engagement workshops. Here are some examples of our most recent employer engagement opportunities:

Morgan Sindall Bridge Challenge

In January 2017 and again in 2018 our Sixth Form Students began working with Morgan Sindall on a 10-week industry project to strengthen their Engineering skills and industry experience. This prestigious project concluded with a one-week Outdoor Activity Residential funded by Morgan Sindall.

Two of our students who participated in this project went on to secure apprenticeships with Morgan Sindall.

Bridge Project

Cathy O’Dowd – STEM Ambassador

A group of female sixth form students met Cathy O’Dowd of Morgan Sindall, an ambassador for getting women into STEM careers. Engineering is a male dominated field where there are many obstacles in the way of young women. Cathy O’Dowd showed our students that gender should not be a barrier to success and inspired our students to never give up on their ambitions for the future.

women in engineering

West Cumbria Mining

Our Year 10 students have recently visited West Cumbria Mining, here students gained an insight in to what the overarching project is, its finances, the technicalities of drilling/boring, an explanation of rock sample analysis and a tour of the drilling site which as it was in operation.

WC mining


The facilities and teaching at the UTC are second to none, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to learn in such an environment.

Sophie Cullen, Ogden Trust’s Year 12 Physicist of the Year

One of the best things about being a UTC student is the opportunities available. There are always exciting and interesting projects running and everything we do is specifically aimed at helping us to succeed.

Brad Stalker, UK and International Young Engineer Winner


This UTC enables students to learn. At my last school I was not learning and did not achieve. Here I should get 9 grade 5 or 6 GCSEs this year.

Year 11 student


The UTC is a centre of excellence, everything we do is now good. Lessons are excellent, marking is detailed telling me how to improve, and students’ behaviour is fantastic. We are all completely focused on getting good results and a good job and every member of staff helps us do this.

Year 12 student


Every day at the UTC prepares me for life in the workplace. I love the employer projects. The projects help to build key skills such as confidence, leadership, teamwork and communication.

Year 11 Student

For more feedback from current students and alumni, check out these short videos.  (password: energyUTC)