Pupils can bridge skills gap at career college

Alison Maynard, principal, Ray Parkinson, head of CCNE, Stacey Orton, mother of recruit Andrew Orton, Rachid Zemouri, engineering lecturer, and Andrew Orton.
Alison Maynard, principal, Ray Parkinson, head of CCNE, Stacey Orton, mother of recruit Andrew Orton, Rachid Zemouri, engineering lecturer, and Andrew Orton.

A pioneering new initiative to boost apprenticeships has welcomed the first recruits to South Tyneside College.

Career College North East (CCNE) welcomed about 20 youngsters to see at first hand the high-tech training zones at South Tyneside College, where they will begin their studies in September.

I’ve wanted to learn electrical skills since I was 10.

Andrew Orton, recruit

The events was their first full introduction to CCNE, a specialist programme aimed at delivering modern vocational training in advanced manufacturing, engineering and computer science for students as young as 14, since they signed up earlier this year.

For at least two years – and with the option of two more – they will spend one day a week at the college in St George’s Avenue in South Shields, learning advanced vocational skills and working closely with employers.

The remainder of their week will be spent following the core academic curriculum at Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ school St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields.

As part of their tour, which included parents, they heard a specially-recorded video welcoming message from Career Colleges founder, Lord Kenneth Baker, a former Home Secretary who launched CCNE in January.

Recruit Andrew Orton, 14, said: “I’ve wanted to learn electrical skills since I was 10 years old and the career college will help me achieve my aims.

“As soon as I heard about it, I knew that it was for me and I really wanted to do it. The facilities are great – I’m really looking forward to starting.”

The pioneering initiative aims to redress an existing and detrimental skills gap in key sectors.

For more information, call 0191 427 3500 or visit www.ccne.co.uk