The Portakabin Group has been awarded the £14 million design and build contract for the UK’s first university technical college (UTC) to be built off site.

 Opening in September 2016, the Global Academy will provide academic and vocational training for 14-19 year olds who want to work in the broadcast and digital media industries.

Designed by the Portakabin Group and architects Surface to Air, the building has a forward-thinking, innovative design to reflect the creative ethos of the new Global Academy.

Advanced off-site technology using a Yorkon building solution from the Portakabin Group will seamlessly integrate both modular and site-based construction.  A significant proportion of the work will be completed off site at the Portakabin Group factory in York in order to meet the challenging programme for completion in time for the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

The technically-complex building is also designed to deliver a demanding acoustic specification for the broadcast studios, with triple glazing and specially-engineered air conditioning.

Commenting on the project, Simon Ambler, Director of the Portakabin Group said, “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the UK’s first UTC to be built off site. This is part of a really exciting regeneration scheme, which will create a landmark education facility to give young people fantastic, practical training for the broadcast and digital media industries.”

“This is a hugely significant project for the construction sector.  It demonstrates the architectural flexibility of a highly engineered Yorkon off-site solution from the Portakabin Group and how an outstanding building design can successfully integrate different construction methods. It also illustrates really well how we can deliver an inspiring, animated and intelligent building in a very short timescale and on a highly complex site.”

The Global Academy will house a sports hall, theatres and a cinema, which will be linked to a four-storey modular building by a dynamic, full-height central atrium space. There will be extensive facilities for TV and radio broadcasting, including radio studios, TV studios, flexible teaching spaces, informal learning zones to facilitate interaction, a café and dining area.

The scheme is being constructed by the Portakabin Group on the heritage brownfield site of the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The site will also require the Portakabin Group to carry out complex groundworks, extensive excavations for district heating, and the construction of a new sub-station.

University technical colleges are technical secondary schools for 14 to 19 year olds, teaching the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow.  They offer a broad curriculum that combines an academic education with technical and practical learning.  UTCs use the latest equipment and technology to provide an environment where students can thrive and develop the skills employers need. The governing body of each UTC is controlled by a business sponsor and a university.

For further information about Yorkon off-site building solutions from the Portakabin Group for primary, secondary and further education, call 0845 2000 123, email or visit


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