College and academy join forces to plug skills gap

St Joseph's pupils with, from left, Alison Rowley, South Tyneside College's schools partnership liaison curriculum leader, Ryan Gibson, assistant headeacher at St Joseph's Catholic Academy, Alison Maynard, principal ,South Tyneside Professional and Vocational College, and Lynne Thompson, post-16  vocational co-ordinator at St Joseph's.
St Joseph's pupils with, from left, Alison Rowley, South Tyneside College's schools partnership liaison curriculum leader, Ryan Gibson, assistant headeacher at St Joseph's Catholic Academy, Alison Maynard, principal ,South Tyneside Professional and Vocational College, and Lynne Thompson, post-16 vocational co-ordinator at St Joseph's.

Two South Tyneside education centres have joined forces to plug a skills gap in the North East.

A unique apprenticeship programme to pair youngsters with employers over four years of training is being launched.

The apprentice will gain essential key skills

Alison Maynard

South Tyneside College and Hebburn’s St Joseph’s Catholic Academy have combined to provide the progressive new framework in engineering.

The scheme aims to attract 16-year-olds from across the region for two years of combined instruction from both education institutions and employers.

The programme’s unique element is a further two years of extended training with an employer to complete a higher apprenticeship qualification.

A number of prominent businesses are being consulted over their involvement in an initiative which is recruiting for a September start.

The project is being headed by Alison Maynard, principal of the college’s professional and vocational college, and Ryan Gibson, assistant headteacher at St Joseph’s.

Mr Gibson said: “This is aimed directly at addressing the region’s skills shortage.

“I believe it’s the best available for preparing young people who want to secure at post-18 apprenticeship.

For the first two years, students get a combined learning package of theory, practice and workplace learning, which is very attractive to employers.”

Ms Maynard added: “The apprentice will gain essential key skills but they will still largely be a blank canvas on which an employer can help them hone skills specific to their business.

“We’ve enjoyed excellent feedback from employers and they are enthusiastic about what we are trying to do.

“The North East has a skills gap that has to be filled. This is an innovative and exciting way to play an important part in working towards that.”

Those undertaking the programme will sign up to St Joseph’s existing Be Competitive programme, the umbrella name for its apprenticeship provision.

For more details, call Alison Roley on 427 3500.