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New report shows improving career guidance in schools and colleges leads to better student outcomes and attitudes, and raises aspirations

Improving career guidance in secondary schools and colleges can lead to better student outcomes, while also raising aspirations and increasing engagement with education, according to the final evaluation of a four year pilot.

The evaluation, carried out by the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby, followed 16 schools and colleges in the North East of England as they implemented a career guidance framework known as the Gatsby Benchmarks. Findings within the report include:

  • Student Career readiness scores (a measure of preparedness for work) showed significant increases in all year groups across the four years of the evaluation
  • The greater the number of Benchmarks held, the greater the number of GCSE passes at A*-C/9-4 were achieved by each learner, even when gender, ethnicity, SEND status, FSM status, looked after status and Ofsted rating were statistically controlled for.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, learners at pilot colleges became increasingly more likely to achieve their learning outcomes, compared to learners at local colleges or all other colleges.

As well as this, teaching staff observed real changes in learner’s engagement in class. There was a reduction in learners querying the point of particular subjects or topics because they understood the relationship between knowledge/skills and their future career. Employers supporting the pilot also said that young people were better able to articulate their career ideas and talk about themselves, and were better informed about their options as well as the types of jobs available.

The pilot, begun in 2015, was set up to test how schools and colleges could use the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance and what the impact would be on their students. The North East region was selected, and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership ran the pilot along with the Gatsby Foundation.

Following early results from the pilot, the Government adopted the Gatsby Benchmarks into their 2017 Careers Strategy for all schools and colleges in England, and has recently renewed its commitment to having the Benchmarks as a part of national education strategy in the ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper.

Alistair Cummins-MacLeod, Director of Student Experience, Engagement & Wellbeing at East Durham College, said: “The pilot and the Gatsby Benchmarks have helped raise careers education to a new level. Our students have certainly benefited from this. They are more aware of the opportunities and can make really informed decisions about what they want to do next.”

Dr Jill Hanson, Lead Author on the evaluation, said: “Following the pilot schools and colleges for four years has been incredibly exciting. We have watched them implement excellent career guidance programmes and were privileged to be able to see the difference this has made to the schools and colleges, to the staff and most importantly to the students. This pilot has had a positive impact on the knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations of students in the North East and it is important that this progress continues across the country.”

Beth Jones, Head of Career programmes at the Gatsby Foundation, said: “Careers guidance should never be seen as an ‘add-on’ to school or college learning. What this evaluation makes clear is the difference made to the lives of students when Careers as a priority.  As schools and colleges around the country continue to work towards the Benchmarks, we hope this evaluation will show them the amazing impact their work can have on their students.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership said: “I was so proud when I read the evaluation – to hear the Pilot described as transformational and to know that the North East played such a pivotal role, was such an honour. We’ve always believed that the right careers education can have lifelong rewards for young people to see that has been recognised independently today is fantastic. We continue to keep the Benchmarks at the heart of our North East Ambition programme as a sign of our support and commitment to them.”

Ryan Gibson, Facilitator of the pilot at the North East LEP, said: “It was a privilege to lead the pilot, to work directly with schools and colleges and to see the transformational impact of the Benchmarks. The North East LEP, the pilot schools and colleges and the individual career leaders involved developed an approach that now underpins our national work towards ensuring that each and every young person benefits from world class careers provision.”

Image: Students at Harton Academy learning about careers.

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In conversation with Matt Joyce, Regional Lead – North East Ambition at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, about National Careers Week

Careers education and guidance, and how it is delivered in schools and colleges, has been transformed in recent years.

The introduction of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks and the closer relationship between industry and education has given young people a better understanding of the world of work and the various pathways open to them, including apprenticeships and traineeships.

Careers education and guidance has become an increasingly important part of school and college curriculums; helping students make more informed decisions about their future lives.

This National Careers Week at the North East LEP, we’re celebrating some of the ways our schools and colleges are putting a focus on careers guidance to improve opportunities for young people and ensure businesses have access to a skilled and talented workforce for the future.

Launched in 2017, North East Ambition builds on the success of the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot in the North East LEP region by supporting every school and college to adopt, implement and achieve the eight benchmarks by the year 2024. We’re currently working with more than 160 schools and colleges as part of the region-wide initiative to help improve outcomes for all young people, regardless of their starting points or backgrounds. This includes helping to support the region’s SEND schools and ensuring employers recognise the value SEND students can bring to their organisations.

Within North East Ambition are a number of programmes designed to improve careers guidance in schools and colleges. The Enterprise Adviser Network, for example, embeds business leaders into secondary schools and colleges to help shape the delivery of careers education. More than 140 business leaders are enrolled on the programme, representing a diverse range of industries key to the North East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

Our Education Challenge programme currently works with five secondary schools and one college to support teachers, school leaders and governors to integrate an understanding of the world of work and career opportunities into the curriculum. The North East LEP’s successful partnership with Ford Next Generation Learning has helped bring the workplace and classroom closer together, giving students the chance to work with local employers on real life projects.

All of this work has helped bridge the gap between education and business so our young people are more aware of the career opportunities available across the region, the routes into them, and the skills and expertise employers need.

The North East LEP, working in partnership with EY Foundation, is also leading a pilot programme looking at how the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks can be adapted for a primary setting. Our North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot is designed to build careers aspiration and inspiration from an early age. We’re currently working with 70 primary schools from across the North East LEP region to see if introducing the Benchmarks can help sow the seeds of ambition from an early age. We’re seeing very promising results so far.

National Careers Week is a fantastic opportunity to share some of the amazing work taking place across the North East LEP region to educate and inform young people about the career opportunities available to them so they can all fulfil their potential and enjoy rewarding and successful lives.

Please follow our Twitter account, @northeastlep, or connect with us on LinkedIn, to take part and show your support for National Careers Week.

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East Durham College launches Careers Leadership Committee

East Durham College operates across three campuses and serves a wide and varied group of students studying both academic and vocational courses at various different levels, including GCSE, BTEC, NVQ, A Level and Higher Education.

Because of this, East Durham College was keen to explore a new approach to careers education, one that met the needs of each and every student.

In recognition of its unique offer, the College chose to establish a Careers Leadership Committee that could work effectively across all three of the college’s sites and better represent its students by offering a diverse range of views and experience.

To support its work establishing a Careers Leadership Committee, East Durham College used its learning as part of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Gatsby Good Career Benchmarks pilot to map out how each department engaged with careers. The exercise showed some excellent careers education provision within its curriculum areas and some in need of improvement.

Based on this research, and following recommendations from The Careers & Enterprises Company, East Durham College established a Careers Leadership Committee that comprises a Board member, two members of the College Leadership Group, the Vice Principal Curriculum and Performance and:

  • Director of Student Experience, Engagement and Wellbeing
  • Director of Inclusive Learning
  • Programme Leader for Progression Coaches
  • Curriculum Manager 14-16
  • Curriculum Directors from across all campuses
  • Careers Co-ordinator
  • NECOP Co-ordinator (FutureMe)
  • Quality Co-ordinator

Since forming, the Careers Leadership Committee has helped ensure careers education is at the heart of East Durham College. It is now a regular agenda item at all Curriculum meetings where it is planned, reviewed and assessed as part of each Curriculum Area’s SAR & QIP.

The Student Service department has increased its careers advice provision and more cross-college events are taking place to support students and parents.

The Careers Leadership Committee has also begun to record and capture careers activity across the college’s three campuses to identify which teams are performing well, and which teams may need some additional support.

The only costs associated with the new Careers Leadership Committee is staff time, meaning it is a sustainable and long-term way of delivering effective and impactful careers guidance that will benefit all students at the College.

East Durham College is one of 11 colleges and sixth form centres involved in the only national College Careers Hub in the country. Careers Hubs are a central part of the Government’s Careers Strategy, which aims to improve careers education and help prepare young people for the world of work.

The College Careers Hub pilot is facilitated by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

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In conversation with Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, about the North East Regional Careers Leaders Network Meeting

Friday 29 November is an exciting day for us as we welcome 140 colleagues from schools and colleges across the LEP area to the first Regional Careers Leaders Network Meeting of the academic year.

Taking its turn this time in Newcastle, at St James’ Park, the event is an opportunity for us to discuss the latest developments in careers education and hear from guest speakers working in the education and careers sector. This is the largest meeting we’ve held to date, which really demonstrates the region-wide commitment to delivering quality careers education in our schools, colleges and universities.

The theme for this event is ‘Careers: The bigger picture’, and our invited keynote speaker is Steve Hailstone, Senior HMI further education and skills in the North East, who will take us through the new Education Inspection Framework and what it means for Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in our schools and colleges.

We’ll also hear from guest speakers representing National Careers Week, NatWest and HMRC about the ways they can support careers provision in the LEP area and offer opportunities to students.

I’m personally really looking forward to the first ever screening of a new film we’ve developed in partnership with students from Norham High School in North Shields. For the past few months, students have been looking at the career opportunities available in the four sectors identified in the LEP’s North East Strategic Economic Plan as contributing to the growth of our economy – digital, advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and energy. The film will be available to view on the North East Ambition website after the event.

We’ll also be providing an update on the North East LEP’s North East Ambition programme, including our recently launched North East Ambition: Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot, which aims to build ambition from an early age. We’ll also be discussing how the education sector can engage with the LEP’s new Digital for Growth strategy.

There will be some interactive and collaborative activities too so colleagues have the chance to network and share some of the brilliant work they do.

Our North East Regional Careers Leaders Network Meetings are a fantastic way for careers leaders and people supporting careers education in schools, colleges and universities to come together, improve their knowledge, and learn from each other. There is a huge amount of inspiring and innovative work taking place in our region and this event is also a great opportunity to share and celebrate the achievements of colleagues helping to improve opportunities for young people in the North East.

If you’d like to join us at the next meeting, or would like to know more about careers education and North East Ambition, please visit www.northeastambition.co.uk and sign up to our opportunities bulletin, or email us via [email protected].

 The North East Regional Careers Leaders Network is supported by the European Social Fund through the North East Ambition programme. The North East Ambition programme receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.
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Bringing careers strategy into reality, and into life

Newcastle College is the North East’s largest college, with more than 16,000 students. It is also part of Newcastle College Group (NCG) – one of the largest not-for-profit education and training groups in the UK, made up of seven colleges.

The college is supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s North East Ambition programme, which helps every secondary school and college in the region towards achieving the government’s Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks.

In just 12 months, the college has successfully improved the coherence and visibility of careers guidance across the whole organisation.

A dedicated Careers Portal is now prominent on the college website and every newly-enrolled student receives a clear and user-friendly Skills and Careers Programme Plan.

More than 5,000 16 to 18-year-old students, including apprentices, received this during their induction activities at the start of their qualifications this year.

Ronnie Burn, Head of Student Services and Careers Leader at Newcastle College, explains how they achieved this success, including the challenges they have navigated along the way:

Supporting the progression and next steps for our students was always at the very heart of our work. We set out to create a plan that could and would be embedded at a college-wide level, to ensure that all our students would be fully aware of our careers guidance and curriculum offer and could make informed decisions for themselves, at every opportunity.

One of our primary goals was to ensure that ownership and responsibility of careers guidance within the college is a key feature for each and every staff member.

We started our journey by completing North East Ambition’s benchmarks audit tool. We also used the Careers and Enterprise Company’s Compass assessment tool.

Doing all of this gave us a great starting point for creating a three-year action plan.

What we did next

Through North East Ambition, we were given the opportunity to join the country’s only regional College Hub, and this gave us many opportunities to consult on best practice models, drawing from career guidance peers from across the region.

The external evolution of careers guidance development work over the last two years, both nationally and regionally, has provided a network to share and test new thinking in developing working career guidance models that operationally fit with the college.

One of our priorities was to identify those colleagues with a responsibility for the provision of careers guidance from across the college, and ensure they were included in the planning from the start.

We consulted right across the college to gain feedback on the first edition of the Skills and Careers Programme Plan, and this included discussions with NCG Executive Directors, members of the college Principalship Team, college Directors, Heads of Curriculum and Service Managers, the Quality Team, Central Support staff and Marketing services.

The impact of this has been that our plan reflects a number of aspects of curriculum content delivery and developing practice.

These include the development of ‘schemes of learning’ incorporating the skills, knowledge and behaviours required in the context of a job role, as well as a focus on the relevance of English and Maths.

The process has also helped us to look at the expectations around work experience and engagement with employers, which has resulted in us developing the role of Enterprise Advisors by curriculum area.

Our continuing collaborative work with staff ensures that our next Skills and Careers Programme Plan aligns with the quality assurance cycle and the student journey, becoming a natural development within the business planning process.

Initial indications suggest we’ve achieved positive reinforcement of careers guidance from all staff and students across the college.

Our biggest challenges

Our biggest challenges have been around developing a sustainable model that is embedded across the college and is accessible to all.

What we learned

It was vital to involve colleagues from across the college, to ensure that responsibility and accountability was transparent. We scheduled fortnightly meetings with curriculum directors and managers to promote the context of the plan and embed this into the business planning process.

Top takeaways

Acknowledge the diversity and social mobility of your students and recognise that ‘one size does not fit all’, so build flexibility into your programme.

Early buy-in and agreement from senior leaders provides a springboard for the careers leader to accelerate action plans.

 

Visit Newcastle College’s careers portal at ncl-coll.ac.uk/careers

Read the latest Skills and Careers Programme Plan for 2019/20

Find out more about North East Ambition at northeastambition.co.uk

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North East LEP supports conference aimed at inspiring next generation of female leaders

Hundreds of schoolgirls from across the region gathered at Northumbria University on Monday 16 September to attend Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG), one-day biennial North East Women (NEW) Leaders Conference.

Supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership through its North East Ambition initiative, the conference brought together female leaders from both within and outside the region to share their knowledge and experience with the aim of challenging gender inequalities and inspiring young women to take a leading role in whatever career or profession they choose.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, said: “This event provided a great opportunity for young women to hear first-hand about the career journeys of exceptional, hard-working and brilliantly successful females.

“We want all young people to be ambitious about the career opportunities that await them, no matter what their background or gender. Through our North East Ambition programme, we’re supporting schools and colleges across the region to offer a range of high-quality careers activities and experiences and achieve the government’s Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks.

“North East Ambition also links schools and employers more closely together, to identify and meet the skills demands of the future and support our aim of driving an uplift of 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.”

Speakers at the event included Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute; Debbie Edwards, CEO of FDisruptors; and Sarah Glendinning, Regional Director of the CBI.

The young delegates attended a series of Power Up Workshops offering tools to boost the girls’ futures, focusing on areas such personal branding, jargon busting and getting the best out of people. They also explored what leadership looks like now and in the future, and how they can develop their own personal authentic leadership attributes.

The North East LEP’s North East Ambition programme aims to ensure all North East schools and colleges achieve the government’s Good Career Guidance Benchmarks by 2024. By doing so, every young person should have access to excellent careers guidance that enables them to identify routes to a successful working life, make more informed decisions about their future and be better prepared for the workplace.

For more information, visit www.northeastambition.co.uk.

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North East pilot programme to raise career aspirations of primary schools pupils

Pupils from Bexhill Primary Academy in Sunderland visited global automotive manufacturer Unipres on Friday 20 September as part of a new pilot programme designed to build ambition from an early age.

The North East Ambition: Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot, managed and delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and supported by the EY Foundation, is testing how the government’s Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks – eight clearly defined benchmarks for good career guidance – can be adapted for primary schools. It is funded by the European Social Fund.

During the visit, pupils worked alongside apprentices and staff at Unipres to discover more about the jobs they do and what skills they need for each role. They also got to try out some of the company’s state-of-the-art equipment, including its virtual reality crane and virtual reality welder.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This visit has been a great opportunity for younger pupils to experience what it might be like to work in the advanced manufacturing and automotive sectors, and I hope it has inspired some ambitious ideas.

“It’s fantastic to see significant regional employers such as Unipres actively involved in supporting the skills development of our young people from the very earliest age, and I am certain that these children will gain a huge amount from what they’ve experienced here today.

“Improving skills, access to employment and supporting career progression is at the heart of the North East Strategic Economic Plan.

“We can help to do that by ensuring young people of every age have meaningful encounters with a broad range of employers; and that they understand the link between the subjects they study in school and the career opportunities available to them. It may sound simple, but it’s a huge culture change for many schools.

“The North East Ambition: Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot is part of our commitment to improve social mobility by supporting age-appropriate careers-related experiences from primary age.

“The pilot is about exploring how we offer young pupils consistently high-quality, careers-related learning that will spark curiosity, self-belief and hope for the future. Today’s event is an excellent example of just that.”

A total of 70 primary schools from across the North East LEP area are involved in the pilot. Each school has the support of a Facilitator to help them implement and achieve the benchmarks and an Action Researcher to capture the impact.

They can also access seed funding, provided by the EY Foundation, to help finance careers activities in or out of school.

The schools also get to be part of a community of Primary Careers Leaders, helping to deliver a shared vision for achieving the primary benchmarks.

Sian Browne from the EY Foundation said: “Research shows that decisions made at primary age can impact future work opportunities. So, raising awareness at an early stage about the employment options available is crucial. That is why the EY Foundation is delighted to be working with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership as they begin their pilot to develop and embed career-enabling benchmarks in primary schools. We hope these benchmarks will be rolled out across the primary sector, better preparing all pupils for the next stage of career and employment support at secondary school.”

The Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot follows the North East LEP’s successful delivery of the Gatsby Careers Guidance Benchmark Pilot in 2015, which led to government launching new statutory guidance for schools on how to deliver careers education.

Maureen Askew, Unipres Training Academy Senior Controller, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome the pupils from Bexhill Academy to Unipres so they can discover what the engineering and manufacturing sector is really like, gaining an insight into the variety of exciting careers we offer.

“We believe it is essential that companies like ours from across the region work directly with schools to demystify industry, capture the imagination of these young people and show how the automotive industry remains a vibrant and vital sector in the North East.

“Unipres is absolutely committed to working with schools to support the Career Benchmarks agenda and help excite pupils about engineering and the many other opportunities on their doorstep.”

Laura Carr, Year Six teacher and careers lead at Bexhill Primary Academy, added: “We were keen to take part in the Benchmarks Primary Pilot as it is going to really help us to structure and build on the work we’re already doing in school around careers and skills.

“It’s been fantastic to visit Unipres today and the pupils have learned so much about the work that happens here, from accountancy to engineering, and the skills you need to do those jobs.

“Hands-on learning opportunities like this really excite and inspire the pupils, and I know they’ve all really enjoyed today’s visit, as well as gained a huge amount.”

Year Six pupil, Molly, said: “Today has been really exciting and I’ve learned all about the different kinds of jobs you can do here. The shop floor was the best bit, with the big machines. You could see everyone was working really hard.”

The North East Ambition: Careers Benchmarks Primary Pilot is delivered in partnership with EY Foundation, an independent charity that helps young people overcome barriers to gaining fulfilling employment.

In 2016, the EY Foundation and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) undertook research with 1500 young people about the challenges of getting into work in the 21st century. This identified the need for interventions at primary school age to develop employability skills and forge links with employers to better prepare young people for the world of work. Building on the success of new career guidance benchmarks for secondary schools (following a two-year pilot by the North East LEP and the Gatsby Foundation), the EY Foundation believes these benchmarks need to be adapted to the primary sector to enable a seamless transition from primary through to secondary education. The EY Foundation believes the pilot project in 70 primary schools across the North East is critical step towards achieving this. For more information visit www.eyfoundation.com.

The visit was brokered by EngineeringUK, who matched the school with Unipres. EngineeringUK is a not-for-profit organisation which works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and increase the talent pipeline into engineering. Unipres works closely with EngineeringUK across the year to develop and promote work experience and skills development opportunities for local pupils. For more information visit www.engineeringuk.com.

For more information about the work the North East Local Enterprise Partnership is doing to improve skills and the quality of careers education in the region, visit www.northeastambition.co.uk.

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Visit to North East energy site unlocks learning for Berwick pupils

Students from Berwick Academy in Northumberland visited a key site in the North East energy sector to learn about the range of careers available to them in the future.

During a day spent at InTEGRel in Gateshead, where academics and engineers work to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of heat, year 9 students explored roles ranging from Company Director to Technician.

Neil Willis, Regional Lead: Education Challenge at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We know that encounters with employers can help students to understand how what they learn at school applies to their future careers and can have a positive impact on their ambition, motivation and attainment.

“That’s why a vital part of our Education Challenge programme focuses on supporting schools and employers to bring the world of work into the classroom.”

Students visited the InTEGRel control room, learning about the technology being used to tackle the UK’s energy challenges, while staff from Northern Gas Networks, Newcastle University, Northumbrian Water and Northern Powergrid introduced the students to a wide range of career paths within the energy sector.

The visit built on an earlier in-school event which saw businesses visit Berwick Academy to talk to students and lead a range of hands-on activities relating to the energy sector.

Rupert, a student at Berwick Academy, commented: “Having Northern Gas Networks come in to see us at school was great, but having the opportunity to see first-hand the work that they are doing right here in our region has made everything so much clearer for me. I now know even more about all the different careers that are possible and also a little bit about how to get there, with university as a likely option.”

Neil Willis added: “The North East energy sector is a strategically important sector in the region, full of opportunities for young people and it’s vital that we work closely with employers to help schools, parents and pupils to visualise a successful path into their future education and careers.”

This event was part of the North East LEP’s Education Challenge programme, which aims to reduce the gap between the North East’s best and lowest performing schools and to integrate an understanding of the world of work and career opportunities into the curriculum.

Find out more about the Education Challenge programme.

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Newcastle pupils partner with Port of Blyth to put learning into action

Students and teachers at Newcastle’s Excelsior Academy have been using applied learning to strengthen the links between schools and employers.

Holly Knox, Assistant Principal of Hadrian School at Excelsior Academy, talks about the school’s recent visit to the Port of Blyth and how it has helped students to apply classroom learning to real life.

We took two groups of our year 7 and 8 pupils to The Port of Blyth as part of their current project about renewable energy. The pupils have been focusing on the themes of renewable energy and climate change, and this visit to the Port of Blyth helped them to see some real-life applications of what they’ve been learning as well as being an opportunity to find out about STEM careers in the energy sector, which is one of the main growth sectors in the region.

Although we’re based in Newcastle, just a few miles from the sea, some of our pupils had never been to the coast before and many of them didn’t know that renewable energy equipment like wind turbines are developed and tested here in the North East. We wanted our students to be able to see for themselves how the North East plays a key part in the renewable energy sector, to find out about the different people who work in the sector, and to think about their own futures and the types of careers they might be interested in.

On the day, we had a tour of the Port, met people who worked in different jobs within the organisation, and we were able to see the technology and machinery in action, including the equipment which is used to dig the trench for the cable that stretches along the seabed all the way from Blyth to Norway. We also completed a hands-on challenge where pupils built their own mini wind turbines and competed to see which group could generate the highest voltage.

They came away enthused and excited about what they’d found out, and absolutely buzzing about what they achieved in building the mini turbines. The visit really inspired them and some of the equipment they saw in action was beyond anything they’d imagined.

Everything we did on the day linked with what we’ve been teaching in the classroom and back at school, the students are continuing to talk about what they learnt on their visit and connecting what they’ve seen with what they’re learning. Every day they are asking questions linked to the visit and we’re reflecting together on what we saw and heard, and what we now know about renewable energy in the North East.

It really was quite empowering for both the pupils and the staff involved and we will be repeating this project with our next cohort of students and we hope to build on this connection we now have with the Port of Blyth.

Holly Knox, Assistant Principal of Hadrian School at Excelsior Academy.

Excelsior Academy is one of three North East schools taking part in a pilot of project based learning.

Project based learning is designed to make learning in the classroom relevant to the world of work, embed careers information into the curriculum and equip young people with skills for 21st century careers.

It is part of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Education Challenge and delivered in partnership with Edge Future Learning. It draws on a model developed by Ford Next Generation Learning in United States who are sharing their experience and expertise.

Find out more about the Education Challenge programme.