From education to employment

New STEM College to open by 2014

A specialist college that is due to open in North Somerset has been heralded as ‘a new model of learning, after revealing its revolutionary approach to the study of STEM subjects.

Weston College, which is behind the so-called North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College, believes the specialist college will be able to boost the economy of the local area. The college is asking parents around North Somerset to complete a questionnaire, which will help shape its provision, and is scouting supermarkets and shopping centres to gather the views of local people.

The college is looking to separate itself from its competitors by introducing new ideas such as an 8.30am-5pm ‘working day’ for all students and, despite admitting students from the age of 14, they will not be required to wear a uniform but instead a “business style” will be adopted by all attending the college.

Other new developments include a syllabus with enrichment activities, in-class homework, and specialised academic, vocational and technical training.

Weston College chief executive Paul Phillips said: “Weston College is committed to working with Business, Industry and the community to create innovative learning solutions. We have discussed this concept with our partners and prospective learners. We are proposing a model of learning that will engender employability skills alongside an entrepreneurial learning environment.”

The college states that specific university staff will be in charge of educating high fliers, while employers will be involved in practical training and Apprenticeships.

By involving employers in the education process, students will have more contact with those who will require their skills. The college also states that it will forge links with the NHS in order to further student training.

Alison Kingscott, from Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “This is a fresh and imaginative approach to education in North Somerset and we look forward to a fruitful partnership, along with the prospect of being able to take on students with real employability skills.”

The new college will be situated in the Locking Parklands of Weston-super-Mare, and soaring local support could see the college open as soon as September 2014.

Daisy Atkinson

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