I was delighted to take over as Chair of the Career Colleges Trust in June and it has been a busy few months.
What Career Colleges are doing is crucial for the improvement of vocational education and for the prospects for young people. The central purpose of vocational education is to prepare young people for jobs and successful careers and that is what Career Colleges are all about.
And the key to this is getting the right relationship between employers, colleges and students.
We need employers and others in the sectors to be in the lead because they know what skills they need. We need Colleges to respond and work with employers to provide the best possible education, focused on jobs. And we need students who can benefit from the new pathways, with relevant career-focused education which Career Colleges provide.
Maths, English and core academic skills are a must for all jobs - but employers want and need more. They want recruits and employees who understand the workplace, who are passionate about their industry and have the technical skills needed.
Today I am attending the launch of a brand new Health and Social Care Career College at Westminster Kingsway College (WKC). This is the fourth Career College to be set up in the past two months, bringing the total within our national network to 18, with a further two having been approved.
We cover a wide range of sectors with increasing skills needs such as Digital Construction, Engineering, Defence, Hospitality and Tourism, and Health and Social Care.
The new Health and Social Care Career College at WKC will focus on what is a classic area for this kind of collaborative working between employers, Colleges and students. Hardly a day passes without headlines about the rising demands on the health and social care sector and the need for more resources, especially staff. This is not surprising with our ageing population and with the technological and medical advances in the sector increasing the demand for staff and relevant skills.
For example, in recent months 1 in 6 of all notified vacancies have been in health and social care. That means that there are hundreds of vacancies in the sector. And it means that students going through this Career College - with its employer leadership - will be what businesses in the sector are looking for.
In short, every Career College student is in an extremely exciting position as they will be entering an industry with a vast number of varied job opportunities on offer.
Career Colleges are giving young people a head start in their careers.
I have no doubt that this newest Career College here at West Kingsway College will be a huge success – both for employers needing talent and for students striving for their dream jobs.
Roger Dawe CB OBE, Chair of the Career Colleges Trust