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College catches them young for careers courses
12:00pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
A new scheme for 14-year-olds to learn about a potential career is set to start in Oxfordshire.
Oxford and Cherwell Valley College is one of four colleges in the country chosen to run the courses from next September.
Pupils currently start at the college at 16, but under the new programme, students selected for the courses will start at 14.
Initially, they will learn about careers in either construction or healthcare. The college will work with employers in the area to invite students to do work experience.
It is hoped more careers will be added to the curriculum if it is successful.
Funded by the Department for Education, the courses will run alongside the GCSEs in maths, English and science for pupils.
Earlier this month, former education secretary Lord Baker unveiled the concept of Career Colleges and announced that Oxford was to be one of the first in the country to start the programme. The others will be in Oldham, Purfleet in Essex and Bromley, Kent.
Executive director of curriculum, standards and academies at the college, Lee Nicholls said: “At the moment construction is one of our main ideas [for career instruction] as well as the caring professions.
“The main feature is that they are led pretty much equally between businesses and the college.
“We would be working with half a dozen main employers, or the health trusts for the health side.
“It will actually make sure the students leave the college with a career in mind.”
The college thinks its first intake would be between 20 and 40 students.
Mr Nicholls added: “It will be a fairly small group to start with.
“It will put 14-year-olds on a path so that they can stay at school and do their GCSEs, but also have a practical career.”
East Oxford MP Andrew Smith said: “The development of these Career Colleges is a good initiative – it is a development of the excellent work the local College of Further Education is already doing.
“I am really pleased that we are getting one in the first wave, and hope it will help local young people get the work-related skills they need to get into jobs.”
Oxford and Cherwell Valley College will develop the career college model from its campuses in Oxford city centre and Blackbird Leys.
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