Jessica Stevenson, Principal at the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, has shared her thoughts on how being part of a world-class family of facilities focused on health & wellbeing has benefitted the college in our first Partner Profile.
Can you tell us briefly about your organisation, and your role in that organisation?
What makes us different is we are very careers focused. Students can specialise in the sectors they are interested in, and really get to grips with the associated skills far more than they would in a traditional school.
Our curriculum is tailored towards three specialist areas – Computing, Health Sciences and Social Care, and Sport Science – which are all harmonious with the organisations in and around Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park. I work to ensure my students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in these fields both now and into the future.
What positive benefits does being located on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park bring to your organisation?
The Park has some fantastic facilities we can access very quickly providing a lot of flexibility. For example, we share the 3G pitch with Oasis Academy Don Valley during the day, and can head over to the English Institute of Sport Sheffield when we require a large sports hall.
Equally, our students are right on the doorstep of initiatives like Beat the Street and Move More, which helps to enrich their learning opportunities.
Being part of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park has also not only helped to pin us with a location identity, but served as a source of mutual inspiration as students see the incredible work going on right outside our doorstep through organisations like the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).
What is your post-pandemic vision for your organisation and how do you think being located on the Park will help you to deliver that?
We’ve already had questions about what does the pandemic mean for reshaping the workforce, and health and digital are two growing fields that’ve had a radical rethink as a result of the pandemic.
Going forward, one of the areas we’re looking to develop is Digital Health, what it means and how we make sure it’s a clearly articulated route; something the AWRC and Sheffield Hallam University are also thinking about.
We have an obligation to our students to think about the long-term impact of Covid-19 on their careers. Some valuable skills have been learnt during the pandemic, from getting to grips with new software to self-motivation, so we’re looking to further develop these skills within young people and showcase them to prospective employers.
The Park aims to deliver whole population health and wellbeing change as well as helping to drive the economic regeneration of Sheffield and the wider city region. Do you think the Park is delivering a real Olympic Legacy and why?
There’s a legacy in establishing what all the organisations around the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park are about, and how they all echo each other through a focus on positive health and wellbeing.
This is an area in a process of transformation, and you can see a clear vision for the future with the developments that’re underway – particularly with the research around preventative care and new facilities such as the Canon Medical Centre.
Our ambition is to create new talent in the fields of Health, Sport and Digital, but we also want to keep that talent local. Our hope is our students will shape the workforce out there by becoming part of the world-class facilities at the park, and further build on the expertise here to make an impact for years to come.