Career Colleges are a national initiative conceived by former
Education Secretary, Lord Baker, who passionately believes that
high quality technical, practical and vocational training should be
offered to students from age 14.
The new Career College joins a network around the country,
specialising in a variety of industries. They provide a
realistic alternative to traditional educational routes with the
specialist vocational training underpinned by solid academic
teaching in core subjects like maths and English, meaning students
receive a well-rounded education.
Helen Norris, Director of 14-16 and Career College at
Northumberland College, said: "In selecting subject specialisms for
Northumberland Career College we reviewed the North East Local
Enterprise Partnership's (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan, which
highlights the importance of tourism and STEM.
"In Northumberland almost 12% of the workforce is involved in
tourism and a challenge for the sector is finding qualified staff
and in the engineering sector an ageing workforce means thousands
of skilled roles will need replacing in future years. For these
reasons we are working in partnership with employers and practical
course work includes much work experience.
"In the North East engineering and manufacturing sectors it is
estimated that up to 8,500 people will retire over the next five
years, while around 23,000 jobs will be created over this period.
The UK construction industry is facing a skills crisis caused by an
ageing population and skilled workers retiring from the industry.
The construction industry training board (CITB) estimates that more
than 36,000 new workers a year will be needed to cover current
The first cohort of Northumberland Career College learners, who
are based at the College's Kirkley Hall campus five days a week,
are currently working towards their one year Career College rural
tourism qualification, which is comprised of Level 2 Event
Management, Level 2 Travel and Tourism and Level 3 Animal
Modules on Northumberland Career College's Rural Tourism course
are shaped to prepare students for real-life work and include
business planning and improvement, ecology and conservation, animal
health and behaviour, retail merchandising all based on the
land-based, event planning and customer service sectors.
Classroom learning is then put into action as the students get
to visit a range of different rural locations.
Thomas Rogerson, Animal Care Tutor said: "Excursions have so far
taken the group to locations that include Ford and Etal estates,
WWT Washington Wetlands and Eshottheugh Animal park to help with
the business module and Yorkshire Wildlife Park to look at
"Students have also worked with Newcastle University on a
project called 'Capturing our Coast', aiding in assessing Lugworm
populations in the North East, which will support national research
into Lugworm breeding patterns that are currently unknown.
Gemma Goulding, Northumberland Career College Lecturer said:
"From starting this course in September, the students have improved
in confidence so much. The hands-on experience our students are
gaining means that by the time they complete their studies, they
are going to have so much work experience and confidence."
Hannah Brooks, 16, from Alnwick said: "Northumberland Career
College gives young people like me more chance to explore career
options and get the chance to decide what it is they actually want
to do through proper work experience, visits and hands-on learning
"The course has opened up my eyes to so many potential career
paths that I wouldn't have thought possible or were for me before
doing this course.
After a year of studying, I will have a Level 2 in Travel and
Tourism, Level 2 in Event Management and Level 3 in Animal Care
which is amazing all by the age of 17."
Northumberland Career College is now welcoming applications from
14 to 19 year-olds for tourism and land-based, construction,
engineering and hospitality for the next academic year starting in
A range of employers including Northumberland Tourism, Kier,
Gentoo and 21 Group have given their support to Northumberland
Career College to ensure students develop skills that are wholly
current and relevant to the world of work.
Anyone wishing to find out more may visit www.northumberland.ac.uk/careercollege or
come to a careers and information event on Wednesday 15 February
6pm to 7:30pm at Northumberland College's Ashington or Kirkley Hall