UTC South Durham opens in September 2016 and will be the first University Technical College in the North East. UTCs are state-funded technical schools that give students aged 14-19 the skills they need to innovate and invent. Studying at a UTC provides young people with the opportunity to gain both an academic and technical education in an exciting and inspiring learning environment. UTC students work closely with employers to enable them to be qualified to work in sectors that are growing and looking for skilled staff. UTCs are smaller than traditional secondary schools and charge no fees. Students join either in Year 10 or Year 12. The founding members of UTC South Durham are the University of Sunderland, Hitachi Rail Europe and Gestamp Tallent.