The photo accompanying "Colleges emerge as leaders of the UTC era" (30 September) shows that the nature of university technical colleges has not been properly understood.
As you rightly say, the existing UTCs, namely the JCB Academy and the newly opened Black Country UTC, both offer a vocational alternative to GCSEA-level education for 14 to 19 year-olds. In these institutions, students are exposed to specialist engineering teaching and equipment that brings them much closer to the realities of the workplace, including a full working day. However, in no shape or form is hairdressing offered as a topic of learning in either institution, as depicted in your image.
The purpose of UTCs is to dramatically increase the number of young people becoming engineers and technicians. As such, these young people will be vital for meeting our skills needs.
Paul Davies, Head of policy, Institution of Engineering and Technology.