Are ‘Career Colleges’ the Key to Future Career Success?

It was suggested recently that the UK Government would look into the possibility of setting up a number of ‘career colleges’ around the country to try and coach young students into following through with a number of vocational skills to set them up for future careers. 14-year olds from around the country would be trained in areas such as healthcare and construction as well as studying for their traditional GCSEs like English, Maths and Science.

This proposal aims to prepare thousands of students for “the real world” outside the classroom so that their prospects of finding work on sites like are enhanced, and more doors are opened because they have far more skills and attributes on their CVs than ever before. The modern generation are all leaving schools, colleges and Universities with similar skills in similar niches and as such, competition for places is fierce. In other less popular industries, however, employers are looking overseas to find the workers who have the necessary skills when many are on their doorstep and would just require further training in order to do the same job.

Former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker announced the plans for the ‘career colleges’, and each of the estimated 40 schools would accommodate between 600 and 800 students aged between 14 and 19. He said “with a million young people unemployed, it’s a disgrace that we have a skill shortage. The Government, employers and parents need to recognize the need for this new style of education which will make young people employable and ready for work.”

The first of these specialist colleges is believed to be opening in Oldham in Autumn 2014 and will focus on digital technology with the belief that the links to the nearby BBC premises at MediaCityUK in Salford will provide valuable work experience opportunities and will encourage people from the area to follow a career path into the digital industry. The running costs and expenses will be funded by the UK taxpayer, but the colleges themselves will have to foot the bill to prepare the sites so that they’re ready to welcome the new students.

While setting up these colleges does sound great at filling in the gaps in various sectors of UK business, it does risk separating students from their classmates, which can have a number of social repercussions, and also educational ones. With such a specific focus on achieving in vocational subjects such as engineering, will their attentions be taken away from the key areas like English and Maths that are skills all students should be leaving school with? It’s great that students are being given the opportunity to access, and focus on vocational subjects because many are much more hands-on in their learning styles and it could help them to choose their own career path, especially as most students know the area that they wish to move into by the time they reach the age of 14.

Written by Debbie Fletcher – an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of difference magazines and news publications. Follow her here: @Debbie_Fletch18