College could be ideal choice for GCSE school leavers


Hundreds of students getting their GCSE results today are being urged to consider their local college as the best option for boosting career prospects in a competitive job market, says Gateshead College.

Tim Poolan, strategy manager for curriculum at Gateshead College, states that further education institutions could also be the ideal choice for students not achieving the higher grades but wanting to remain in education but not 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 Poolan 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.

“This offers 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.”

In addition to A Levels – which saw a best ever 97.5% 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 Poolan 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 still 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.