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Is linking schools, colleges and employers the vocational holy grail?

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If efforts to bridge the academic-vocational divide could be described in terms of a quest, then its holy grail would be a ­mutually beneficial relationship between school, college and employer. A unique project in the North East of England, which sets out to address the skills gap faced by industry, may succeed in creating such a collaboration.

This September in South Tyneside, a leading FE college and an outstanding school will, with the backing of several major employers, open a joint venture specialising in engineering, advanced manufacturing and computer science.

Career College North East will provide the best of academic and vocational education to young people aged 14-19, its ­founders say, offering a clear line of sight to a career. They hope the college will illustrate how the school and FE sectors can work together to provide innovative education pathways. ­Significantly, this is the first time a career college has partnered with a school in this way.

South Tyneside College will provide the vocational know-how, St Wilfrid’s RC College will deliver the academic expertise, and employers including Siemens and Ford Aerospace will help to design and deliver the curriculum, as well as offering work experience to students.

“Each will play to their strengths to provide the best possible education for young people,” says Ruth Gilbert, chief executive of the Career Colleges Trust.

Read the full story in the 26 June issue of TES. You can do so on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents. 

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