College could be ideal choice for GCSE school leavers

Tim, who is strategy manager with responsibility for the curriculum at the college, states that further education institutions could be the ideal choice for students who want to remain in education but not stay on at school.

He says: “A college provides students with an adult-oriented learning environment, a strong support network and the opportunity to learn the valuable skills and attributes that employers are looking for.

“From day one, our focus is the end job goal and the ways in which we need to work with our students to ensure they are as employable as possible and have the best chance of success.”

Tim says that it is the specialist partnerships and an entrepreneurial outlook, combined with state-of-the-art facilities that give Gateshead College the edge in providing the best start on the path to job success.

He cites strategic partnerships such as the one with Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro, as good examples of how the college is working with regional employers to enhance the career prospects of school leavers.

Earlier this year, the college teamed up with Nexus to create 30 new rail apprentice posts.

“We are working very closely with Nexus to deliver the type of apprenticeships they and the transport industry will require for future operations,” says Tim Poolan.

“This offers the new apprentices, including some who have just left school, the chance to continue their studies at college while they learn on-the-job skills, expertise and experience that will be essential for long term job success.

“The commitment to a long-term programme like this provides a strong foundation for youngsters to flourish and develop. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build a career by gaining skills and training while earning a wage.”

He also believes the college’s links with organisations such as Live Theatre, Sage Gateshead, Nissan and Gateshead FC ensure it is in regular contact with employers and understands the skills and attributes they are looking for in their future recruits.

“This enables us to adapt our teaching and introduce out of class initiatives that encourage students to develop key work-ready skills,” he adds.

In addition to A Levels – which saw a 97% pass rate this year – the college offers a range of vocational training and apprenticeships from campuses which have seen £75million of investment over the last five years.

Tim continues: “Studying for A Levels is the right option for some people but others may be more suited to vocational training.

“Either way, we provide young people with several choices so that they can continue their education and find employment. This is particularly important in an economic climate where jobs are hard to come by.”

Gateshead College offers AS and A level courses including English, art and design, biology, business studies, chemistry, drama and theatre studies, languages and government and politics.

Students can also enrol on other post-GCSE courses including vocational and diploma courses as well as apprenticeships. Subjects range from engineering and business studies to software development and sports science.

For further information, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk