A new programme to enable teenagers to access alternative provision and get an engineering qualification while at school has been launched at Furness College.
The college has welcomed 11 pupils from local schools to the Channelside campus so they can get a head start on the skills that they need for employment.
The Year 10 and 11 students have enrolled on a Level 1 Engineering Technology course where they are developing a range of technical skills, including sessions in the motor vehicle workshop. It is funded by Cumbria County Council and participating schools and runs one day a week.
Director of Curriculum (Young People’s Learning) and the College’s safeguarding lead Sue Hannan, who is overseeing the project, said the students have been selected by the schools and the engineering programme was the preferred pilot with courses in construction, hair and beauty, early years and public services planned for next year.
“The students on this programme will achieve nationally-recognised qualifications while they are still at school and will be ready for employment, an apprenticeship or to step up to the next level of study after school,” she said.
Daniel Barton, Assistant Director for Education and Skills at Cumbria County Council, said he was delighted to see this programme up and running and looked forward to it developing next year.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for young people with an interest in engineering to get a head start on the skills and experience they’ll need for their future careers,” he said. “The council is pleased to support alternative provision and understands the benefits this type of opportunity can present to young people looking ahead to their future. I’d like to wish all the students enrolled every success with their studies.”
Leanne Hirst, of Furness College, who is offering the pastoral support aspect of the scheme said the students had shown great enthusiasm so far.
“They seem excited about the course and proud to be part of the college environment. Already, two of the students have asked if they can attend more than one day a week which demonstrates just how much they’re enjoying the programme. I am excited to see how the students develop this year as they learn new skills within engineering.”
The scheme has been developed by Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren with local head teachers as part of the Furness Education Consortium, building on Furness College’s previous experience offering 14 – 19 diplomas.
The opportunity is open to pupils from the following local schools: Furness Academy, St Bernard’s, Walney, Dowdales, Chetwynde, Ulverston Victoria High School and Millom.
Sue Mallinson, of St Bernard’s School in Barrow, said the students were thoroughly enjoying the experience so far and the chance to learn in a college. “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to achieve a recognised qualification which will enhance their career opportunities upon leaving school,” she said.
The college has a dedicated ‘Schoolzone’ in the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre for the pupils every Friday.