News

14th September 2021

We all know the benefits of work experience for children, but what about teachers?

UTC’s Director of Engineering David Court and Engineering teacher Martin Thomas found out for themselves, spending three days of the school summer holidays working at Progressive Technology Group, a high-grade engineering firm which manufactures precision parts for Formula One teams, the aerospace industry and defence organisations, to bring back new ideas into the classroom ready for the start of the new school year.

The ‘CoTeach placement days’ were part of an Activate Learning Education Trust (of which UTC Reading is a part of) initiative called the Industry Skills Exchange Project, which aims to organise greater employer involvement in the delivery of education. The programme aims to give teachers up-to-date industry knowledge relevant to the subjects they teach, so they can feed that back into the classroom.

The placement days, which took place 19-21 July, saw the teachers enjoy a detailed tour of the company, taking in some essential elements of the engineering process, including machining, quality management processes, health and safety requirements, cost performance and materials testing.

Since taking part, Martin plans to pull some of his learnings into his lessons. While he still has a passion for teaching, spending time at a Progressive Technology Group gave Martin a new perspective on work: “As a teacher in a UTC –  where the remit is to create students who are industry ready –  it is vital that I remain up-to-date with latest industry practice.

“This placement enabled me to stay ‘industry sharp’, refreshing my understanding of advanced machining processes and the project checks around these.

“The three days allowed relationships to be created with company staff that can be taken forward in a variety of ways to create future student benefits.”

Progressive Technologies Apprenticeship Academy Trainer and Assessor Greg Ball praised the teachers’ enthusiasm throughout their placement, saying: “It was great three days; we loved having the guys in. They had plenty to take back to the classrooms.

“It’s been really beneficial for us too to build up our relationship as we’re constantly taking on apprentices. It’s good to have contacts at the UTC who know what we do so they can recommend potential suitable students who might like to take up our apprenticeship scheme.”


  • The Industry Skills Exchange Project is a European Social Fund scheme which aims organise greater employer involvement in the delivery of education. Teacher placements in industry are integral to this.
  • If you are part of a small to medium STEM-based business based in Berkshire and are interested in helping shape young people – who may potentially become one of your own employees in the future – contact Jane Fitzpatrick at jane.fitzpatrick@alet.org.uk