Sixth Form student Rhys Puddephatt and Year 10 students George Osborne, Oliver Wissett and Samkeliso Kimbinyi have become MTA's in seven areas including software development, Windows development, online security and C# programming.
The MTA programme is a professional qualification from Microsoft that is recognised worldwide. Individuals can build their knowledge and skills in specific areas of programming and can work towards upgrading from Microsoft Technology Associate to a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer in the specialism.
To gain each accreditation, students sit an online exam to test their knowledge and skills. The focus at UTC Reading is on independent learning, and students who choose to work towards becoming a MTA do so outside of their normal hours - up to 10 hours per exam - learning from online resources and taking practice exams.
Samkeliso said: "MTA training links to what we're learning in class, but has given me a greater understanding of programming and how diverse the field is. My new knowledge was really useful when we developed an app during the Microsoft employer project; we ended up developing a much better app."
The students are all in agreement that to be able say they are a Microsoft Technology Associate is great for their CV.
Oliver said: "This will help us to stand out, particularly from university graduates as many won't have this. It shows that we have the real-world skills, as the MTA programme is used by many businesses. It's also a big thing to be able to add to a university application."
After speaking to Microsoft, 14 year olds Oliver and George believe that they are the youngest Microsoft Technology Associates in Europe, and are planning to claim this title unless proven otherwise! We’ve launched an online campaign to confirm this; you can keep up to date on Twitter via #youngestMTA!
All of our students are taking part in an employer project with Peter Brett Associates.
Students will be working with mentors from Peter Brett Associates to redesign the old part of Reading’s train station. The project will run until July and will encompass all parts of the curriculum from English and geography to science and IT.
On Friday 21 March, students began research for their project. In their teams, students visited different parts of Reading train station with their Peter Brett Associates mentors. They also attended lectures run by Peter Brett Associates. This trip will support students’ wider research into rail stations and how they fit in and support a modern town centre. What they find out at this stage will be applied to their designs of Reading station.
Project-based learning is a key part of life at the UTC. By working with an employer on an industry relevant project, students can build the relevant skill sets, plus meet industry standards and expectations which will prepare them for life in the workplace.
Most importantly, project-based learning is fully integrated into day-to-day lessons and learning experiences. Throughout this project teaching staff will align their classes with the project’s objectives and tasks, and Peter Brett Associates will host off-site project days.
We will keep you posted on other key milestones of the project, through to the final exhibition via this newsletter.
This month, we welcomed over hundred potential students and their parents to our taster event at lead industry partner Microsoft.
Alongside displays, demos and activities from our lead and associate industry partners, both UTC students and staff were on hand to speak about their experiences.
Visitors were keen to find out about many different aspects of the UTC including project-based learning, travel, independent learning, the curriculum and enrichment to name a few.
The next taster event will take place at lead industry partner Network Rail on 1 May, 5.30-7.30pm. More information can be found on our website.
Last year, CEO of TeenTech and technology journalist Maggie Philburn was invited to head up a taskforce to investigate and recommend solutions to close the digital skills gap in the UK. As part of their research, the taskforce held a roundtable on Friday 21 March at Symantec in Reading. Principal Joanne Harper and students Skye and Sophie attended.
The focus of the day was to discuss how the UK can develop home grown talent and meet the growing IT needs of all industries. Year 10 student Skye spoke to the 50 local business leaders who attended on her thoughts on what digital skills she has and is working towards, and what she believe are the needs of the future.
Discussions also included the importance of role models from industry to inspire young people, and the need to cultivate partnerships with business.
There was even time to try out Symantec’s F1 car simulator!
Skye and Sophie will be heading to Google’s headquarters in London on 3 April to join the launch of the junior digital taskforce. The report from the taskforce will be published in June 2014.
On Monday 17 March, UTC Reading welcomed staff from Microsoft’s offices in Seattle, who were in the UK for one day as part of their European trip to speak to clients who are training through the Microsoft IT Academy.
Members of the Learning Experience team - Senior Director Tim Sneath, Director for Academic Programme Keith Loeber and Content Director Briana Roberts - toured the campus and met with students who are training to become Microsoft Office Specialists and Microsoft Technology Associates through the IT Academy.
This included Rebekah Kinchin who is training at expert level on the Microsoft Office Specialists pathway, and George Osborne, Oliver Wissett and Samkeliso Kimbinyi who are flying through their Microsoft Technology Associate qualifications.
Keith and Briana were keen to get feedback from students about the Microsoft Technology Associates qualification. They also spoke to IT staff Daniel Sydes and Sandra Joseph about how Microsoft can continue to support them and other types of resources available to teaching staff.
Following the success of the first WISE hub in November 2013, the second meeting was held at associate partner CGI on Wednesday 19 March.
Set up in partnership with WISE, the UTC works with other schools and organisations across the South East to encourage more females to build a career in STEM industries – science, technology, engineering and maths.
At the meeting on Wednesday, discussions included how to change the perception that a career in a STEM industry isn’t for girls, and to raise awareness of the different career paths and types of organisations that girls (and boys) can work within.
The group, consisting of schools such as Caversham Primary School and organisations including CGI, Fujitsu, Cisco, Thames Water and Kier, also shared ideas, best practice and contacts that could be of benefit to the other members to promote STEM education and career opportunities.
Plans are also being made to run interactive and educational activities for primary school children to bring STEM to life.
If you’re interested in becoming part of the WISE hub, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Three of our Sixth Form students James Stone, Aaron Hart and Calum Bryant have applied and been selected to attend build camp in April (there are only 18 places available!)
Sponsored by Balfour Beatty and the Institution of Civil Engineers, build camp provides students with the opportunity to find out what life as a civil engineer is like. They will be planning, building and operating a section of rail line using real construction materials, processes and machines.
We’ll update you in the next newsletter on how they got on!
Student celebration awards, followed
by afternoon tea and a formal parents evening – 27 March 2014
F1 in Schools regional heat, hosted at the UTC – 1 April 2014
International day of IT skills for girls – 24 April 2014
Taster event at Network Rail - 1 May 2014, 5.30-7.30pm
Taster event at Peter Brett Associates – 10 June 2014, 5.30-7.30pm
Friends of UTC summer BBQ – 12 July 2014, from 3pm
You can also keep up to date with the latest developments of UTC Reading through our website and social media channels: