Pioneering technical college invites Newton Abbot to 'Fight the Fatberg'

Celebrating World Environment Day (Wednesday 5th June), Newton Abbot’s pioneering technical college is inviting prospective students to a special open day where they will join forces to ‘fight the fatberg’.  

Working with Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free campaign and community group Transition Newton Abbot, South Devon University Technical College (UTC) will be hosting an Open Evening on Wednesday 5th June, 5pm-8:30pm. Prospective students who have a flair for science, engineering, technology and the environment can participate in a range of activities throughout the evening, all focusing on how to protect the environment.  

The event comes after Devon’s largest fatberg was discovered in a Sidmouth sewer earlier this year. The monstrosity, which is the size of six back-to-back double decker buses, is made up of discarded wet wipes, hardened fat and oil which is clogging up the pipes under the Esplanade.

Taking note of the shocking news, South Devon UTC’s eco-ambassadors decided to set visitors the challenge of creating a sink-safe product inside the college’s impressive science laboratories. Visitors can present their ideas and thoughts on how to fight the fatberg to be in with a chance of winning a VIP experience with the Environment Agency at the National Laboratories. The winners will gain an insight into the work of the scientists who maintain the high standards of the UK’s countryside, rivers and beaches.   

To mark the end of World Environment Day, the college will be showing Bag-IT, a 70-minute documentary that has received praise for its impactful and animated message to reduce plastics. The film will begin at 6:45pm, finishing at 8:30pm.   

Prospective sixth form and Year 10 students looking to start at the college in September 2019, will also get the opportunity to talk to current students, staff members and employer partners.

The pioneering college on Kingsteignton Road, with its state-of-the-art facilities, offers an innovative model of learning for students that provides professional academic and technical education aimed to ‘develop a new generation of engineers, scientists and environmentalists’. Unlike many other colleges, South Devon UTC has a higher proportion of their students studying triple science compared to the national average.

The curriculum also includes all year-round work experience opportunities and employability skills development. This is a key focus for students at South Devon UTC which results in an extremely high success rate for students achieving their further destination placements in higher level apprenticeships with local employers, University or with the Armed Forces.

Recently, the eco-ambassador project, founded by scientists Fyn Hayes (17) and Luke Dawson (18), saw success in the School / Educational Establishment Recycling Hero category at the Recycle Devon Thank You Awards 2019.

Claire Plumb, Principal of South Devon UTC, said: “We are delighted to invite prospective students to our next Open Evening on 5th June to mark World Environment Day. It’s a great opportunity for people to see what goes on behind our doors and even test out our laboratories in the Fight the Fatberg challenge. The discovery in Sidmouth shocked us and our eco-ambassadors were keen to come up with a solution to encourage the community to consider what they are throwing down their drains. We look forward to seeing you on World Environment Day.”

South Devon UTC is currently recruiting students for the 2019/20 academic year. Young people with a flair for science, engineering, technology and the environment due to start Y10 or Y12 in September 2019 should contact the college as soon as possible for more information. The South Devon UTC Open Evening takes place on Wednesday 5th June, between 5pm-8:30pm; register your interest to attend the event by calling 01626 240201 or visit    

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