From education to employment

School leavers urged to consider technical qualifications to be employment-ready by education leader

Angela Joyce

@WCollegeGroup – Young people receiving their GCSE results are being encouraged to consider technical and professional qualifications to put them at the front of the employment queue.

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) has stressed the value of technical education as school-leavers make choices on their next steps.

Many will look to continue their education at school, however, for some students this might not be best route and a move to a different type of learning event would be beneficial.

WCG includes seven colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire, with colleges including Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Moreton Morrell, Warwick Trident, Pershore, Evesham and Malvern Hills College.

More than 90 per cent of the college group’s 16-18 year old student population are studying technical and professional qualifications rather than academic subjects, and gaining relevant workplace skills in the process.

Angela Joyce sits on the Employment and Skills Boards for both the Worcestershire and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, is board director of Landex, CBI regional Director and Chair of the Midlands Engine Skills Group. 

She said: “Covid-19 has made the employment market more competitive than ever before and now it’s crucial that young people gain skills that help them to be ready for the world of work.

“In the immediate future there may be fewer apprenticeship opportunities, but taking a more technical college course designed with employment in mind can provide a strong alternative.

“Many of our courses include an industry placement, with a mix of theory and practical sessions taught in industry-standard facilities by staff with relevant industry experience.

“College-gained qualifications often mirror those studied by apprentices in industry, so there is a clear transition to an apprenticeship when the right opportunity arises and economic conditions improve.

“College provides a stepping stone between formal education and employment, and in many cases suits students who are ready at 16 to move on from school into a more independent environment that will better prepare them for the actual workplace.

“At WCG we aim to help young people develop skills that will put them at the front of the queue for jobs when they come out of college, and would urge all school leavers to thoroughly research their options before choosing their next steps.”

Royal Leamington Spa College works with the UK’s biggest games developers who are based around Leamington, with students often securing employment with these companies.

Moreton Morrell College has strong industry links for student studying carpentry and joinery, and provides opportunities to test new equipment before it reaches the market.

Students attending Pershore College can benefit from a nationally recognised Agritech Centre, which carries out research to improve horticulture internationally.

Evesham College features a state-of-the-art engineering workshop which was recently upgraded with equipment needed to prepare for a career in engineering.

WCG provides help and advice for all students, whatever their grades and is able to provide guidance on all the options available to students considering their next steps.

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