Students with brains but not enough backbone are set to get the personal attributes to impress in the workplace through a new education initiative at Career College North East (CCNE).
They will be taught how to properly apply themselves to the world of work through specially-designed resilience training developed by CCNE, a unique skills initiative at South Tyneside College for 14 to 16-year-olds.
CCNE has acted in response to employers’ concerns about the robustness of young people, reporting that some arrive with them for work experience, other training or employment without the right mindset – and even quickly quit.
The seven-week pilot scheme will also help learners hone their problem solving skills – a second key ingredient many businesses say many youngsters lack.
It will use ‘resilience practitioners’, trained by CCNE, to enhance students’ awareness of resilience – the ability to knuckle down to work – and help them develop methods and strategies around it.
At the same time, parents, lecturers and employers will be asked to back the scheme through hands-on support.
If successful, the double-headed pilot programme, being tested over seven weeks, will be rolled out to students in need of support across Tyne Coast College, of which South Tyneside College is part.
Ian Fawdon, Work Based Learning Manager at Tyne Coast College, said it was hoped students would quickly grasp the reality of life outside the classroom.
He added: “We are running this exciting programme as a trial but in direct response to what employers are telling us are the attributes they look for in young recruits, namely resilience and problem solving.
“The response from the students so far has been total enthusiasm, and we are confident that they will develop excellent tools on this programme that will benefit them greatly in their future careers.”
The involvement of CCNE means its 30 current students will also be offered support for better preparation when entering the workplace, should they require.
They are at the sharp end of work experience training, as it forms a key and progressive element of their two-year training course.
Each can expect to undertake three full weeks with an employer during both years of their programme of engineering, advanced manufacturing or ICT, with a maritime option available.
Resilience training is also being offered to students at South Tyneside College’s Youth College, made up mainly of Year 10 and Year 11 pupils who have not settled into a mainstream school, due to behavioural issues.
At Youth College, they can choose a vocational route in hairdressing, motor vehicle, welding or hospitality, with the aim of gaining a BTEC qualification to go alongside their standard maths and English learning.
Youth College has enjoyed success in ensuring that post-Year 11 destinations are high, with a large percentage of students progressing along the vocational route they have chosen.
If resilience training proves successful, Mr Fawdon hopes the Career Colleges Trust (CCT), which operates the national chain of Career Colleges, will roll it out.
Bev Jones, CEO of the Career Colleges Trust, said:
“It is absolutely vital that young people acquire skills such as resilience, problem-solving and critical thinking – as these are the things that businesses want and need. The employment market is competitive and simply gaining qualifications is no longer enough when it comes to getting a great job.
“CCNE’s resilience programme gives students what they need to stand out to employers and helps prepare them for the workplace. This represents exactly what the Career Colleges Trust stands for and we look forward to supporting the initiative throughout our wider network.”
Founded in 2015, CCNE also delivers six core GCSEs at Ofsted ‘outstanding’ St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields, enhanced by expert delivery of vocational courses at South Tyneside College.
Successful candidates are able to join the prestigious and over-subscribed pre-cadetship in marine engineering at world-leading South Shields Marine School.
The programme delivers clear progression routes into higher and further education, apprenticeships and employment.