Hospitality and Visitor Economy Industry Career College

What is a Career College?

A Career College is a new concept in education, preparing young people aged 14-19 for the world of work.

A Career College combines both vocational and academic learning, combined with employer led education and entrepreneurial skills. Progression opportunities will include employment, apprenticeships and higher education.

Find out more by downloading the Career College brochure

How does it differ from the main college?

It offers practical training and education designed by industry, with direct input from employers. It differs from our regular College by being a “College within a College”.

Why is the entry age 14? Isn’t this too young for children to specialise in subjects and decide on their future career?

There are many examples of international education systems where age 14 is used as a point of access to a broader range of education. Many of these economies, such as Austria and Germany, have much lower rates of youth unemployment. The principle of 14+ as an opportunity to access a range of learning pathways is also established in the UK, more recently with University Technical Colleges and the Government’s announcement to allow 14 year olds to enter Further Education colleges full-time.

Critically, our Career College will offer a broad base of education. Students will start at the age of 14, 15 or 16, combining core curriculum subjects with vocational learning and hands-on projects. In line with requirements for the 14-16 curriculum and 16-18 study programmes, subjects such as English, maths, science, languages and humanities will be taught in the context of the chosen vocational specialism. This will bring these vital subjects to life and give them new meaning. Because of the emphasis on core subjects, students can change direction at 16+ if they decide to follow other paths to success in adult life.

Why are they important? Why do we need them?

The skills gap is evident in the UK and there are high levels of youth unemployment. People with outstanding vocational and practical abilities are vital to our economy.

The Government has already put in place reforms to ensure that students can combine core academic subjects with high quality vocational qualifications from age 14. And at 16, two thirds of students in full time education take some kind of vocational subject.

By specialising in a vocational area relevant to the local labour market, our Career Colleges will help engage employers and give young people the chance to start a high quality level 2 vocational course at 14. If they choose to stay in that vocational area, they will then be ready to progress to a higher level of vocational learning at 16. This could put them ahead by a whole two years.

In addition, our Career College students will learn through real-world challenges set and supported by employers. Coupled with work experience – both pre- and post-16 – and other links with local businesses, they will develop the wider employability skills which employers rate so highly.

Combining academic and vocational studies in this way has been proven to work. It’s the popular choice for huge numbers of young people in Austria, Switzerland and Germany – and as a result, their youth unemployment is far lower than almost anywhere in the world, including England. It’s easy to see why.

Career Colleges are set in the context of a further education sector which is able to respond to local needs by determining the right offer and the most appropriate delivery model to meet those needs.

Does the Government fully support Career Colleges? Is it providing funding?

The Government has commended this initiative. Funding will be provided through the usual means for 14 - 19 public education in our College.

Will students still study for academic qualifications (GCSE/A levels)?

Yes, there will be the opportunity to combine the appropriate vocational, professional and general qualifications (GCSE/ A levels) as appropriate, in accordance with national requirements for 14 to 19 education. This includes maths, English and science being compulsory for 14 to 16 year olds.

The critical ambition and requirement for our Career College is to provide young people with a well-rounded education, ensuring strong communication skills, a grounding in maths and English and preparation for the world of work – both employment and self-employment.

How will the Career Colleges be scrutinised?

Our Career Colleges will be subject to the same scrutiny and benchmarking as Further Education colleges across the UK, with opportunities to compare learner successes with all other provision in the UK.

A key measure of performance will be the number of young people who secure work and further and higher education, directly following their education in our Career College. The Career Colleges Trust has requested direct guidance and support from Ofsted to review and inform the quality standards and guidance to Career Colleges.

Who is responsible for the success of our Career College?

We are required to adhere to national standards, monitored by Ofsted. In addition, the Career Colleges Trust will support us with guidance on best practice, provision of services, including training and resources, and regularly audit that Career College standards are being met, to maintain the accreditation required.


For more information

Please contact our Student Services team: