Student on track to become the first to graduate as a Toolmaker with MB Aerospace

(Last Updated On: January 7, 2021)

Celebrating its employer partnership with a leading international engineering firm, South Devon University Technical College (UTC) has announced that one of its founding students is on track to graduate as a fully qualified Toolmaker in 2021.

Joe Phippard, 21, will be the first student from Newton Abbot’s pioneering technical college to graduate as a Toolmaker with MB Aerospace.

Joining the college the year it opened in 2015, Joe studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma course in engineering which saw him complete a week’s work experience at MB Aerospace, based in Newton Abbot. After taking an interest in the company, Joe started his apprenticeship with MB Aerospace after he left South Devon UTC.

Equipped with the knowledge and skills he gained at the state-of-the-art school, he now specialises in tool making at the engineering firm which provides solutions to the aerospace and defence market.

MB Aerospace has pledged to continue supporting the college through its employer partnership programme. As a member of the Heart of the South West Careers Hub, South Devon UTC works with local businesses to ensure the curriculum reflects the skills and qualifications employers require in the world of work. This in turn ensures South Devon UTC alumni are ‘work ready’ when they leave the college, giving employer partners a direct pipeline to young talent. Employer partners also have the opportunity to provide Challenge Projects, deliver workshops and offer work experience to South Devon UTC’s students.

Joe Phippard commented: “The course I studied at South Devon UTC was great as I got to study different types of engineering such as electrical engineering with plenty of practical engineering involved and welding and machining. I also gained experience in computer-aided engineering, getting to design lots of different computers, even being able to use a 3D printer.”

Joe continued: “At the end of my course, I decided that I didn’t want to go to University, and I wanted to pursue an apprenticeship. I was lucky enough to be taken on by MB Aerospace. So far at MB Aerospace, I’ve gained experience in lots of different departments, trying out different areas of engineering, and I decided tool making was the path I wanted to go down.”

Principal Claire Plumb commented: “We’re delighted to hear that one of our founding students, Joe Phippard, is on track to graduate as a fully-fledged Toolmaker. Joe was a hard-working student who has a real passion for engineering. He used to throw himself into his studies and participated in any extra activities such as the Royal Navy Field Gun Challenge and work placement opportunities. Throughout his apprenticeship, Joe has regularly delivered talks to our students about his experience and the opportunities available to them. We often work with our advanced level apprentices in order to inspire our young engineers. We wish Joe all the best with his engineering career and look forward to working with MB Aerospace to provide them with even more young talent, particularly during this period when we are experiencing a STEM shortage.”

Other leading regional employers and founding partners of South Devon UTC include: South West Water; Royal Navy; Environment Agency; Linden Homes; Teignbridge District Council; FSB; Babcock International; Centrax; Galliford Try; Torbay Development Agency and national charity, Water Aid.

Based in Newton Abbot, South Devon UTC is a science and engineering specialist school which offers 14-19 year olds more than the traditional GCSE and A-level curriculum. Students work towards GCSEs and A-levels as well as technical qualifications in engineering and science. The college provides an environment that mirrors the workplace, helping students develop important employability skills to prepare them for a job, apprenticeship or degree when they leave school.

As a designated Careers Hub, South Devon UTC takes a strategic and operational approach to careers. The curriculum at South Devon UTC is driven by developing skills for employment, particularly focusing on the science and engineering sectors.

South Devon UTC is now recruiting students for the 2021/22 academic year. Open mornings run every Friday from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Register your interest to attend by calling 01626 240201 or visit

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