A total of 330 primary school pupils from across the region got their first taste of college life as part of a careers pilot launched by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.
Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from seven primaries across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland visited their town’s colleges during the first College week.
Pupils got to experience first-hand what studying at a further education level is like and they were also given the option to choose from a number of different subjects, including everything from Construction Trades to Travel and Tourism, for a deeper understanding of the career paths open to them.
The visits were designed to boost pupils’ confidence and give them the information they need to make clear choices about post-16 learning and careers across the Tees Valley.
They form part of the £750,000 TeesValleyCareers.com expansion, delivering support and resources to the area’s 204 primary schools following the success of Mayor Houchen and the Combined Authority’s initial £3million initiative to engage with around 100,000 pupils in every secondary school in the region.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re doing a lot to teach our young people of all ages about the exciting career opportunities that we’re helping to create across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. But in doing so, we need to also arm them with the information they need to enter the world of work too, whether it be through further and higher education, apprenticeships or traineeships.
“This week of activity has thrown a spotlight on some of our fantastic colleges and the courses they run to help people progress into high-quality, well-paid careers across a wide range of our key sectors.
“We’ve had hugely positive feedback from the schools taking part and next year we’re going to get even more on board, to give as many young people as possible a head start on their careers education.”
Cheryl Walker, headteacher of Lockwood Primary School in Redcar, one of the schools to be involved, said: “Our visit to Redcar and Cleveland College is a fabulous opportunity to raise our pupils’ aspirations and increase awareness of how higher education will prepare them for their future career paths.
“For the majority of them, it is their first time walking through the doors of a college and I am sure it won’t be their last!”
Erika Marshall, Group Marketing Director and Strategic Lead for Careers Education at Redcar and Cleveland College, said: “It is vital that we work with all our schools to allow pupils the opportunity to learn about what their future can look like, from as early as possible.
“This fantastic primary scheme has given us the chance to do just that, and to inspire young people in our area to give them the ambition and drive to achieve their full potential. We’re looking forward to welcoming even more through our doors to show them what we have to offer as the programme continues next year.”
This opportunity had intended to engage 1,500 pupils but some visits had to be cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions and self-isolation. It will return next year for a bigger and better scheme running in schools and colleges across the entire region.