The Arms industry in schools

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
e-mail icon

The opening of South Wiltshire University Technical College in September 2015 will allow arms companies and the armed forces to directly influence and shape the running of a school and its curriculum.

The South Wiltshire University Technical College will teach science and engineering for ages 14 to 19 “in the context of the defence industries”, and is sponsored by weapons manufacturers Chemring, Qinetiq, security giant Serco and the Army's 43 (Wessex) Brigade.

Chemring, one of the companies sponsoring the South Wiltshire College, produce munitions, bomb detectors, countermeasures and pyrotechnics and supplies some of the world's most repressive regimes. The CS gas canister on the right was used against protesters in Egypt in 2011. (Copywrite Orhamilton/flickr)

Although they are described as “sponsors”, the relationship between UTCs and local weapons manufacturers goes much deeper. Arms companies will be invited to:

“help to construct the curriculum”, helping them build “close links with students who will be potential future employees”.

This allows weapons manufactures to benefit from tax-payer funding for their “potential future employee's” training, and helps them to position the arms industry as vital to the UK's economic future.

Support the campaign: sign up to CAAT

A school sponsored by arms companies

Companies act as sponsors-in-kind, putting staff time into training for students and hosting them in their workplaces. In exchange, they are given extraordinary amounts of influence over the college.

Many are invited to shape aspects of the curriculum to suit their employment needs and given wide access to students, unprecedented level of influence for a private company to hold over a state school.

Working with local schools also provides a unique PR opportunity for weapons manufacturers. An industry which fuels conflict and profits from human rights abuses must work hard to maintain public acceptability.

Working with local schools is an important way for the arms industry to present itself as a legitimate business. For instance, BAE Systems runs an “ambassador” program in schools, with the objective of improving its “corporate reputation at both a local and national level”.

What are University Technical Colleges?

South Wiltshire University Technical College (UTC) is one of 44 existing or proposed UTCs. University Technical Colleges come under the academies programme, from where they obtain funding after receiving Department of Education approval. Academies are state-funded independent schools, and UTCs are academies designed to teach older students students (aged 14- 18) specialising in technical studies.

UTCs usually involve a partnership with a local university and businesses, and aim to teach the skills that companies operating locally want in their workforce. They have particular features such as longer school days, and a focus on a businesslike environment to prepare children for work.

Source: Campaign Against Arms Trade

Photo: Chemring, one of the companies sponsoring the South Wiltshire College, produce munitions, bomb detectors, countermeasures and pyrotechnics and supplies some of the world's most repressive regimes. The CS gas canister on the right was used against protesters in Egypt in 2011. (Copywrite Orhamilton/flickr)

Geographic terms: 

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.