From education to employment

14+ Apprenticeship Academy celebrates six years of changing lives

The 14+ Apprenticeship Academy celebrated its sixth year with a student reunion. Staff and learners from its inception up to the current cohort gathered to toast success and achievements.

The academy is just one of 18 of its type in the country, and the first to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted. It was formed in 2013, following the need to offer GCSE students vocational options and an alternative environment to traditional school settings.

Alan McKenna, Head of the 14+ Apprenticeship Academy, said: “The student transformations we see are phenomenal. Learners often come to us because they didn’t fit in at their school, have been bullied, have mental health issues and a whole host of other reasons.

“We make sure they’re looked after, fully supported and nurtured to get the absolute best out of them. Their successful progression is testament to our skilled staff who provide individual plans and go above and beyond to offer educational and pastoral support.”

Hannah Whetstone is one of the academy’s former students, who struggled at high school due to stress. She is now completing her A levels at Notre Dame Sixth Form College and will soon be starting a higher level apprenticeship in business. She said: “I’m so grateful for all the one-to-one support I received.

“Staff support everyone individually and will do everything in their power to help. Without the academy, I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am now. After my apprenticeship, I would like to do a degree in marketing.”

Other students at the reunion included Luke Proctor who’s now studying sport at Newcastle University and Adam Pearce, who’s secured an electrical engineering apprenticeship at Northern Rail.

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