From education to employment

Career Colleges Trust celebrates five years of vocational excellence

Career College representatives from all over the country attended a special conference in London this week, marking five years since the inception of the Career Colleges Trust.

Over 80 guests attended, including Career College students, tutors and employers. The theme for the day was Career Skills, focusing on the key attributes young people need to ensure that they can succeed in the world of work.

Representatives from a number of top employers attended and spoke to guests about their own business requirements and expectations – Michael Jones from Merlin Entertainment, Stephanie Cocoran from Crowne Plaza Liverpool, John Bryson from L&Q Construction and Sharon Davies from Hertfordshire Care Providers Association.

The Department for Education’s Sue Clarke also spoke to guests about the planned implementation of T Levels.

Former and current Career College students attended and gave some outstanding talks about their own Career College experience and the benefits this has bought them.

Welcoming guests to the conference, Chair of the Career Colleges Trust, Roger Dawe said:

“It is wonderful to be celebrating a fifth successful year with Career College representatives from all over the country – from as far afield as Gateshead and South Tyneside, Wales and Liverpool.

“Bringing employers and colleges together has been and continues to be at the heart of what we do. We will continue to innovate and expand our model in the coming years to help ensure that education in the UK is meeting the needs of employers – while giving young people a wider range of post-16 training options and access to great careers.”

Presenting at the conference were two groups of students who had taken part in the Trust’s digital project with Amazon Web Services – a team from Westminster Kingsway College and one from Barking & Dagenham College. The students explained more about the pioneering project and how it had benefited them in terms of skills and confidence.

Former Barking & Dagenham Career College student Bhushita Jolly also attended to talk about her successful progression into a degree apprenticeship at Accenture.

Two students from Career College North East in South Tyneside also travelled down to share their stories.

Former student of the Lincoln Air and Defence Career College, Abigail Britt Wood (18), also came to talk about her Career College experience. She joined the Royal Air Force last August as a medic and has just graduated from her phase two training. She said:

“I owe the success of my career to the Air and Defence Career College, they invested so much time into my training, put in so much effort to help me and teach me. I have been able to develop all the skills I received at college and apply it into every single day at work, and I have realised how valuable those skills are.  

“The Career College helped me to feel that I was always one step ahead in basic training, I had never felt more prepared for something in my life. Basic training was the most intense, intimidating experience I have ever done- the support I received from the Air and Defence Career College was phenomenal and I couldn’t have gotten through it without them.”

Stephanie Cocoran, HR Manager at Crowne Plaza Liverpool, said:

“A Career College really prepares a young person for the real world. And it is establishing those softer skills that are required in the workplace. Whether that be communication or leadership and that’s really what has been a benefit for me at the hotel. “

“The most important thing about today is giving me the opportunity to discuss hospitality and tourism as a potential career and also to make sure the students have an opportunity to know what skills are required within my industry and what it is that we are looking for in potential employees. “

The event was concluded with the presentation of a number of awards – which were presented by the Trust to Career Colleges, employers and individuals who had shown excellence and commitment in a number of areas.

The winners were:

College Employer Involvement Strategy – Lincoln Air and Defence Career College

Employer Involvement Strategy – Merlin Entertainment

Project Based Learning Best Practice – Career College North East

Skills Development 14 to 16 – Alistair Miller (Gateshead Construction and Architectural Management)

Career Colleges were launched in 2014 by Lord Baker, with the aim to bring FE Colleges and employers together to create high quality vocational learning for 14-19 year olds –crucially meeting the needs and skills requirements of employers across many key industries.

In the past five years, the Trust has opened 23 Career Colleges in 15 locations around the country, supporting over 4000 Career College students and working with over 800 employers.

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