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Tomorrow’s engineers are the students of today


Oct 30, 2014

Expressway Route to engineering - media 3A unique college course that helps school pupils gain valuable qualifications and experience in growing sectors is being celebrated to mark Tomorrow’sEngineers Week (Nov 3-7).

Young people studying on Redcar & Cleveland College’s trailblazing Expressway Route to Engineering course said they were eager for other school pupils to consider working in the field.

The Expressway Route programme enables14 and 15-year-olds to go into the college one day a week to engage in one of a number of priority sectors including engineering, health and social care, creative media or civil engineering, enabling them to gain a BTEC Level 2 qualification in their chosen subject and vital work experience and links with industry.

The Routes to Engineering course has been hailed a major success by the Association of Colleges (AoC), which this year gave the college £80,000 in funding so it could assist four other colleges in the North East to roll out similar programmes.

Businesses who have supported Redcar & Cleveland College in both the development and implementation of the programme said they were not surprised by its success.

All of the 20 youngsters who completed the first two-year Routes to Engineering course in July are now either in engineering Apprenticeships, continuing at the college on the BTEC Level 3 course or studying A-Levels.

All are still set on a career in engineering.

Tony Johnson, Production Support Manager at Huntsman Polyurethanes, has worked with the college since the inception of the programme.

He said: “The process industries have for some time been experiencing a shortage of good, young engineers so Huntsman got involved from the start to help build a context and structure for the course and provide work experience and mentoring support.

“The fact that we have already seen so many young people go on to Apprenticeships or further engineering qualifications means that it is proving successful and achieving what it set out to do.”

College Principal Gary Groom initiated the programme in direct response to the growing needs of local employers.

He said: “The programme is in its fifth year now and we have worked hard to address skills shortages, while at the same time creating a pipeline of highly motivated young people who are already shaping up to be amazing young engineers.

“We are particularly proud of our first cohort, all of whom achieved very high standards and have continued into the engineering sector.  The programme has been so successful the college has been asked to lead the regional roll out of the project in the North East and is attracting a lot of interest nationally.”

James Metcalfe, 16, from Marske, is on an Apprenticeship with TTE, sponsored by Sembcorp Utilities, after completing the programme.

He said: “I got involved in the Expressway Route programme because I thought it would give me a head start. It enabled me to start working towards my career early and certainly helped me to get the Apprenticeship.”

And Sophie Knight, 14, a student at Rye Hills School in Redcar, is currently on the programme, with ambitions of becoming a mechanical engineer in the Army.

She said: “Most girls at school think engineering is a boy’s thing – that it’s dirty and strenuous – but it isn’t. I think more girls would like it if only they knew more and gave it a go.”

Candace Gilbert, STEM Project Manager at Redcar & Cleveland College, said support for the programme from industry leaders hadbeen phenomenal.

She said: “We are very proud of our Expressway Route programme and the impact it is already having on young people and local businesses.”

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, first launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2013,  aims to change perceptions of engineering among young people, focussing on 11 to 14 –year-olds, their parents and teachers.


For more information about courses, call the college on 01642 473132 or go to www.cleveland.ac.uk

By admin