From employer engagement to employer involvement – celebrating four years of Career Colleges

The Career Colleges Trust has welcomed over 100 representatives from its UK-wide network to its fourth Annual Conference today.

Delegates at the London event heard from a number of speakers, including Jake White from The Challenge and Paul Warner from AELP, focusing on the theme ‘From employer engagement to employer involvement.’

 In addition, Career College students, tutors and top employers talked about their experiences and the many projects they have been involved in throughout the year.

With 22 Career Colleges now open around the country, the Trust brings educators and employers together to help tackle growing skills gaps, focusing on six growth industries: digital, engineering, hospitality, healthcare, construction and professional services.

This year over 1300 14-19 year olds have attended a Career College. Over 240 employers have been engaged and 100% of students have undertaken an industry placement.

Chairman of the Career Colleges Trust, Roger Dawe CB, OBE opened the conference. He spoke about the importance of Career Colleges and the success they have seen over the past five years:

“There is a growing recognition of the importance of developing young people’s skills – and in a post Brexit world, this will be even more important in order to boost the country’s productivity and economic growth.

 “To do this, we need to strengthen links between employers, colleges and students – which is at the very centre of the Career College ethos. Over the past five years, we have been working to promote the importance of employer-led education, which is now being reflected in Government education and training policies such as T Levels and apprenticeships.

 “Today’s conference has been a great opportunity to hear about the excellent work, partnerships and achievements that have been made across our network this year. It is especially encouraging to hear from the students themselves – their success is testament to their own hard work and the commitment of colleges and employers.”

 Arnie Van Teeseling from STC Group in Holland attended the conference to speak about employer/educator partnerships in the Netherlands. Delegates also heard from students and employers (Deutsche Bank, Turner Townsend, Merlin, Amazon, Comic Relief) representing BMet, BDC London South East Colleges, Gateshead and Havering Colleges, who spoke  about their own Career College experiences.

18-year-old Lauren Polson joined London South East Colleges’ hospitality Career College at the age of just 14. Four years on, Lauren is now an apprentice at BR6 Restaurant in Orpington, helping to train new students. Speaking about her experience she told the audience:

At 18 I am much further ahead in my career than many of my friends who stayed at school. I am planning to travel in the future, knowing I have brilliant skills to get work and no student debt. Going to a Career College has been a brilliant route for me.”

 BMet student Edward Flack (18) took part in this year’s Amazon/Comic Relief project. He  told the audience:

 This experience helped me with my public speaking and interview techniques as well as problem solving. It also gave me ‘real experience’ to include on my CV and as a result, I’ve got an interview for a job at a great company tomorrow!”

 Joint CEOs of the Career Colleges Trust, Ruth Gilbert and Bev Jones, said:

It has been another exciting and productive year for the Trust. We are extremely grateful to our Career Colleges – tutors and students – for all the hard work they have put in and of course, the supportive employers, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have.

 “Our network continues to grow. This is not only helping young people achieve fulfilling careers, but is helping employers to address  skills gaps in growth industries.

 “Today’s conference has enabled us to celebrate the success of our colleges as well as providing valuable networking opportunities. We have much planned for the next few years and look forward to working with our partners to further increase the positive impact we are having.”

ENDS

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