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Astronaut Tim Peake meets star students as he opens RN-backed technical college

15 December 2017
From outer space to the suburbs of Portsmouth… Two years after blasting off to join the International Space Station, British astronaut Tim Peake formally opened the RN-backed college which will produce the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

The sixth Briton in space was guest of honour at the new £10m University Technical College Portsmouth in Hilsea in the north of the city.

The centre of learning opened its doors for the first time in September with the emphasis on teaching electrical and mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing, alongside core GCSE subjects for 14 to 16 year-olds and a range of options including Level 3 engineering NVQs and A Levels for those over 16.

The college works closely with the Royal Navy to offer practical training to its students, using real-life projects that stretch pupils’ technical skills and creative thinking.

Young men and women studying here are being taught to aim high and given a deep understanding of the sheer scope of opportunities that are available to them in the future

Astronaut Tim Peake

Students showed off some of the challenges they’d completed so far for the astronaut, who was impressed by the enthusiasm students displayed.

“Young men and women studying here are being taught to aim high and given a deep understanding of the sheer scope of opportunities that are available to them in the future.

“I've been really impressed with the exciting ideas the students have shown me as well as the fantastic questions they have asked.

“UTCs impress me because they are not just training the next generation of science, technology, engineering and maths professionals and developing a much-needed skills pipeline, but they are offering their students the opportunity to make the important connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the real world.”

Owen Bradstreet showed off the moon colony he and fellow students had designed.

“It was truly inspirational to meet Tim Peake,” the teenager said. “He’s been to the space station and now he's here talking to us at UTC Portsmouth. We’re really lucky to have him here what he's done is great.”

Sixth-form students buttonholed Tim, asking questions ranging from "what’s the best and worst space-themed movie for scientific inaccuracies and why?” to “out of the 250-plus experiments that you conducted, which one was the most challenging to conduct and why?”

Among those asking questions was Zoe Bowbrick. “It was so exciting to have the opportunity to speak to Tim Peake and ask him questions about the experiments he did in space has been a privilege,” she said.

“It's opened my mind to new opportunities.”

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