All UTC South Durham students study two engineering qualifications (equivalent to two GCSEs) through the OCR Cambridge Nationals course. All students study Engineering Manufacturing, and have a choice between studying Design Engineering or Systems and Control.

Here at UTC South Durham our engineering hall is the heart of our building. We have teaching staff and industry professionals leading lessons for our Key Stage 4 teaching programme. Students will learn core skills covering health and safety, interpreting engineering information, and practical engineering operations.

Our specialism of engineering and advanced manufacturing are reflected in the wide range of careers available across the region. These courses have been chosen by our employer partners to reflect the needs of their future workforce. The formal courses will be delivered through practical application; building students’ skills from using entry level equipment to industry standard machinery.

You can find out more about the courses by following the links below.

Two male students in the engineering hall at UTC.

Staff Profiles


Neil McGrath

BEd QTS – Faculty Director for Engineering Faculty

On completion of my secondary education, I started a four-year craft apprenticeship in Toolmaking. This consisted of day-release, at what was then Darlington College of Technology, plus four days of training at work. Over the next eight years, I continued this day-release training to complete my full craft apprenticeship qualification, plus an ONC and HNC in Engineering. Over that period, I worked for a number of engineering companies- manufacturing photocopiers, manual and automated transmissions, televisions and superheaters for offshore companies.

I had by then, developed a real interest in learning, so to continue this I enrolled on a teaching degree and soon successfully completed a BEd at York University. I returned to employment working locally in childcare for two years. This was within a secure unit working with some of the UKs most challenging children, working alongside psychiatrists and psychologists. The knowledge I learnt there has been invaluable in my teaching career.

My teaching took another change in direction, working for two secondary schools in County Durham. One enabled me to work with sixth-form students, both as a tutor and teacher of A level courses. I also held the post of Subject Leader for Technology in one school for six years. Promotion quickly followed to a larger school in Sunderland leading the Technology Faculty, delivering a wide range of GCSE courses.

The opportunity to work at the UTC was a massive attraction to me. It has enabled me to work with well-motivated students who have a real interest in engineering, maths and the sciences. The work based skills and excellent education on offer, will give our students the perfect start to employment or further education.