Northumberland College is launching a career college which will initially specialise in land-based and rural tourism.
Targeted at 14 to 19-year-olds, career colleges are a national initiative conceived by former Education Secretary, Lord Baker, which provide young people with the opportunity to combine academic studies with high-quality practical learning within a specific industry.
A range of employers help to design and deliver the career-college curriculum, to ensure students learn skills that are wholly current and relevant to the world of work.
Applications to Northumberland Career College are now open to those aged 16 to 18, with the first students in September able to access specialisms in land-based and rural tourism. Growth plans, backed by the likes of Northumberland Tourism, Banks Mining, Think IT and Arch, will introduce further specialisms within construction, engineering and hospitality for 2017.
Marcus Clinton, principal of Northumberland College, said: “Our career-college course provision is being designed with input from employers to ensure students’ learning is completely relevant to our specialist industry sectors.”
Northumberland Career College’s specialisms reflect growth in the North East economy for tourism and hospitality as well as skills shortages in construction, engineering and animal care.
The latest figures indicate an 18 per cent increase in jobs in tourism within Northumberland over the next five years, growth in day visitors to 7.6million and in visitors from outside the North East to 83.3 per cent.
Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “The new career college, with its ethos of developing courses in partnership with employers, will provide a valuable career path for young people enabling them to develop the skills businesses value while helping those businesses access the staff they need to prosper.”
The number of people aged 65-plus within the agriculture and animal care sector is set to increase by 60 per cent by 2035 with the number of working-age adults falling steadily over the same period, which could result in significant skills shortages.
In the North East, more than 40,000 people are employed within engineering occupations and industry forecasts predict this figure will remain steady by the year 2020. However, when looking at the UK as a whole, it is estimated that by 2020 approximately 450,000 more science, engineering and technology technicians will be needed.
Ruth Gilbert, Chief Executive of the Career Colleges Trust, said: “I am delighted to see the opening of another Career College, expanding our network further. Northumberland College has identified a number of growing industries in and around the local region, which will be facing skills shortages over the coming years.
“Together with Northumberland College, our aim is to ensure that young people have access to high-quality, employer-led training within industries that offer plentiful career pathways and opportunities – which is exactly what will be provided here.
“Additionally, Career Colleges encourages students to develop their digital and entrepreneurial skills – giving them an even broader skill set and ensuring they are fully prepared for the world of work.”
To find out more, visit www.northumberland.ac.uk/career-college