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Black Country, Bloxwich, Schools, Technical education

Olympians race to Bloxwich for Black Country UTC event

Left to right: Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.

Team GB Olympic cycling stars Geraint Thomas MBE and Lizzie Armitstead are among the star attractions coming soon to Bloxwich when the local Black Country University Technical College hosts the first of its ‘Live Series’ events later this month.

The top sporting cyclists, who became household names at the London 2012 Olympics during the summer, will be visiting the UTC, formerly Sneyd Comprehensive School, which is based on Vernon Way adjacent to Mossley Estate.

The specialist technical and engineering college for 14- 19 year olds will bring ‘Accelerate Live’ to the Black Country on Saturday 24th November, when prospective year 10 and year 12 students will be able to see the magic of engineering brought to life by a series of exhibitions and showcases.

Amongst them will be the award-winning Pedals to Medals interactive experience, a journey through the engineering history of cycles right through from the Penny Farthing to the high-tech bikes that saw our Olympians grab London 2012 glory.

This unique opportunity to get up close with some of the most famous bikes in history will be supplemented by the chance to hear first-hand about how important engineering is to the riders themselves, with Geraint and Lizzie talking through their experiences in London and what they expect to change before Rio.

The pair will also be offering young engineering enthusiasts in the area the chance to get autographs and pictures, along with posing their own questions to the duo.

Along with the cycling theme Accelerate Live will also showcase dynamic engineering and science demonstrations including robotics displays, Green Power vehicles and much more.  There will also be a chance to win a state-of-the-art bike!

Black Country UTC Principal Chris Hilton believes the event is a great way to demonstrate how the organisation differs from standard schooling.

He said: “The educational experience here really brings engineering and science to life, and we believe that anyone’s visit to our college should do exactly the same.

“The Olympics is a hugely interesting subject at the moment owing to our success and a big part of that has been engineering – it is fascinating seeing the exhibits in Pedals to Medals and how the advancements have been made.

“We are honoured to have two Olympic cyclists here on the day, especially two who had such notable achievements as Geraint and Lizzie.

“Lizzie was Team GB’s first medalist of the games and really started the ball rolling and Geraint was part of a team that shattered a world record on the way to winning a gold medal – it will be amazing to hear from them first hand.”

Organisers are strongly encouraging year 9 or 11 students, especially those who are into science and engineering, to attend Accelerate Live.  Students, parents, community groups and UTC employer partners are all invited to register. There are two Accelerate Live sessions 9:00 – 12:30 or 13:00 – 16:00.

Visit to register for tickets.

Picture courtesy Black Country UTC.
Left to right: Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.
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