From education to employment

Coleg Gwent launches Wales’ first Career College

The first Career Colleges in Wales has been launched by Coleg Gwent, ready to open its doors to students this September.

Supported by a number of regional and national employers including Cisco, Wolfberry and Delio, Coleg Gwent’s Career College will offer specialised career-focused routes in healthcare and digital technology to 16-19 year olds.

The new Career College joins a 20-strong national network, led by the Career Colleges Trust. Its pioneering approach of employer-designed curriculums, with emphasis on work experience, ensures that students are equipped with the employability skills and technical knowledge they need for a successful career.

Attending the launch were representatives from technology giants Cisco, cyber security specialists Wolfberry, the DVLA, Amazon Web Services and the Cabinet Secretary for Economy in Wales, Ken Skates.

Career Colleges focus on specific industry areas facing a regional skills demand – with employers helping to design and deliver every curriculum. A key element of the concept is meaningful work experience, ensuring that students have access to work-based learning opportunities as part of their courses.

Coleg Gwent’s new Career College will be partnering with some of the area’s biggest employers to tailor courses to business requirements. It will focus on jobs in the digital and care sectors, designing courses in partnership with local and regional employers, to meet requirements of that particular job market.

Students will leave the programme equipped with a portfolio of qualifications and experience, ensuring they are work-ready for the employers who have assisted in the development of the courses.

Speaking at the launch, Coleg Gwent’s Vice Principal Nicola Gamlin said:

“Coleg Gwent has always worked hard to ensure its courses give students the very best opportunity to progress into the world of work. Becoming a Career College underpins that principle.

“Coleg Gwent, one of Wales’ top performing colleges, operates in an area of limited opportunities for many people but prides itself on being at the cutting edge of latest developments in education. We know that there are significant skills gaps locally, especially in the care and the digital technology sectors. By partnering with some of the area’s key employers we can work together to ensure that we have a future workforce that is the best that it can be.”

Addressing guests at the event, CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, Ruth Gilbert, spoke about the expanding Career College movement and the importance of employer engagement:

“The Career Colleges Trust is delighted to see the launch of these innovative Career Colleges at Coleg Gwent – the first to open in Wales. Healthcare and digital technology are both vital industries, crucial to the nation’s economy.

“We are proud of our expanding Career College network and impressed by the support being given by a range of employers, of all sizes, across all industries. This reflects the fact that businesses are keen to get involved with training the next generation, which is essential for the economy as a whole. We look forward to working with Coleg Gwent and its partners on this exciting venture.”

About Coleg Gwent: A Further Education college with five campuses, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, City of Newport, Crosskeys, Pontypool and Usk. The college also has a business training centre, in Newport. Coleg Gwent has 18,734 full and part time students.  For more information on learning opportunities at Coleg Gwent, please telephone 01495 333777, or email ([email protected]). According to the Welsh Government’s annual publication of Learner Outcomes, Coleg Gwent is 1st in Wales for Vocational Qualifications and joint 1st for Academic Qualifications and Main Qualifications.

About Career Colleges: Established by employers and Further Education colleges, they specialise in subjects linked directly to sectors with exceptional job prospects, partner with employers to design and deliver the curriculum and work experience, ensure employers represent a minimum of 40% of career college board members and offer 14 to 19 provision, with progression to Apprenticeships, higher education and employment. Against a background of high youth unemployment, the over-arching target is that every young person leaving a Career College, whether at 16 or 18, will be in work, training or education.

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