STUDENT LIFE / OCT. 18, 2013
version 5, draft 5

Career Colleges to Equip British Students With Vital Job Skills

Given the high rates of youth unemployment and the skill gap with local young people in Britain, the education system will shift its focus on supplying high school teenagers with vocational and technical skills.  The plans imply that tens of thousands of 14-year-olds will leave the traditional classroom two years early, and join a ‘career college’ which will provide them with vocational training in a range of subjects such as construction, culinary arts and catering as well as healthcare.  

These ‘career colleges’ - which will be made up of a network of roughly 40 technical colleges – will liaise with local employers who will design and help deliver their curriculum. The challenging aspect for 14 to 19-year-olds is that they will prepare for jobs in the service sector while studying simultaneously GCSEs in subjects like maths, english and science.  

Facts about Career Colleges:

  • About 40 career colleges are planned to operate over the next four years. At least 140 technical and vocational schools of different types for 14-19 year-old pupils are currently planned by 2018.
  • Each career college will teach between 600 and 800 pupils, and each will be specialising in skills vital in its local economy (e.g.: engineering, design, construction and applied sciences).
  • Students will wear business uniform and have a longer day, starting from about 8.30am to 5pm, with two days a week spent on hands-on learning.
  • Practical experience at these colleges will concern different disciplines including hospitality, finance, healthcare and event management.

As a result, the first college to open next year will be based in Oldham and its specialisation will be 'digital economy'. This institution will partner with the University of Salford whose main expertise is on media. In the meantime, a further four careers colleges are to open, including one in Purfleet, Essex, which will focus on providing students with the skills to work in the creative and cultural industries.

It ‘s about time education in Britain started actively preparing pupils for the world of work. Placing great emphasis on developing key technical and vocational skills is crucial so that by the time students leave school at 16 or 18, they don’t join the ranks of unemployed. Instead, they can be given a chance to get a job, take an apprenticeship, or attend university and keep on being active, productive and valuable contributors in the country’s economy.  


Picture taken from Alamy (

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