Career College North East (CCNE), a unique training programme for 14 to 19-year-olds, based at South Tyneside College, has appointed a new head to lead its ongoing success and development.
Victoria Cramman’s first step has been to put CCNE on the front foot by challenging employers to support it through greater collaboration in developing its curriculum.
CCNE, which launched in 2015, is enjoying growing reputational recognition, with steadily increasing student numbers and high pass rates.
It delivers six core GCSEs at Ofsted ‘outstanding’ St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, enhanced by expert delivery of vocational courses in engineering and ICT at South Tyneside College.
Its programmes are supported by local employers who are instrumental in leading and supporting its work.
But Mrs Cramman has now urged more businesses to engage with its targeted, high-quality training as a way of meeting their future workplace skills requirements.
She believes CCNE offers the perfect platform for them to identify the young talent to help them and the North East compete within the global economy.
She said: “I’ve watched Career College North East grow from strength to strength, and I’m very excited by the opportunity I have been given to continue its success.
“I very much want to hear from more employers about the skills they want for their future workforce - they should be helping us to set our curriculum so that we can meet their needs.
“The education and training CCNE delivers is very focused and is helping give young people careers not just jobs.
“I feel privileged to be building on already strong foundations to deliver exceptional education and training for young people who know the career they want at the age of 14 and are determined to get ahead of the field.”
CCNE offers vocational training in engineering, advanced manufacturing and ICT, leading to further opportunities in areas such as apprenticeships and HE.
Successful candidates can also join the highly prestigious and over-subscribed pre cadetship in marine engineering at South Shields Marine School.
Mrs Cramman has replaced Ray Parkinson, who led CCNE from its launch and has become principal of a secondary school on Teesside.
She has worked in education for 25 years, the last seven at St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields.
Five years ago, as an assistant headteacher, she was instrumental in launching St Wilfrid’s’ sixth form, and also played a significant role in it becoming an ‘outstanding’ rated school.
More recently she had responsibility for improving standards at a sister school in Peterlee, Co Durham.
For CCNE, she plans to introduce more project based learning which bridges traditional GCSE studies with vocational studies.
Such an approach involves input by employers, providing a more realistic work based experience which prepares students in becoming highly effective employees from the start.
Among her challenges are persuading more schools with pupils who would benefit from CCNE to better support its work.
She added: “We are very forward thinking and find that young people who recognise our value and the opportunity that we are offering them, can be quite strongminded in their determination to join us.
“A strength of CCNE is that our focus is on providing students not only with the qualifications that they need but also more work experience than that of other centres and the link between education and employers such as Accenture, is key to our success.
“We have a lot of really strong contacts with industry and they are able to get to know our students through the work experience they do in their businesses.
“This means that when they need an apprentice, they know they can come to us and we are in a very strong position to deliver.”
Alison Maynard, Principal of South Tyneside College, said: “Victoria brings a wealth of experience to her new role at the head of Career College North East.
“The Career College has made great progress since its launch, delivering the training and skills desired by many young people.
“Ray gave the college tremendous direction from its launch, and I’m confident Victoria can develop its expertise and attractiveness to students even further.”
In August 2017, all 12 students who started CCNE as 14-year-olds at its launch passed their two-year joint vocational and academic programmes.
All attained either a merit, distinction or distinction* in their BTEC vocational qualification.
An outstanding 83.3 percent overall standard pass rate was achieved at English and maths, with an exceptional 100 percent in English.
Each progressed into an apprenticeship with world-leading companies like Siemens and Clyde Marine, an engineering maritime pre-cadetship, or continued in Further Education.
Around 20 students joined CCNE’s second intake last year, and a higher number is expected to start during the next academic term in September.
Career College North East (CCNE) was launched in September 2015 by Lord Kenneth Baker, a former Conservative education secretary and founder of the national network of career colleges.
For three days a week, learners study a core academic programme at St Wilfrid’s RC College, in Temple Park Road, South Shields.
On the other two days, they study for two vocational qualifications at South Tyneside College - engineering and ICT - with support from employers.
CCNE delivers clear progression routes into higher and further education, apprenticeships and work.
It is based on the government’s new national education policy that allows Further Education colleges to recruit students at the age of 14 with the aim of increasing choice, opportunity and prospects.
CCNE is unique among career colleges in teaching advanced manufacturing, engineering and IT. In September 2017, maritime studies was added through CCNE’s link to South Shields Marine School.
Learners who complete the maritime course are guaranteed a place on the marine school’s pre-cadetship programme, with defined and dedicated nautical and engineering career advancement.
CCNE is part of Tyne Coast College, formed from the merger of South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College, North Tyneside, in August 2017.