School children get work skills at new centre

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A NEW school will be created to offer students the chance to learn about the world of work alongside their studies.

The Apollo Studio Academy in Peterlee will be run by The Academy at Shotton Hall and East Durham College, combining their expertise to take on 300 pupils aged from 14 to 19.

In addition to GCSEs and A-levels, they will take vocational courses aimed at giving them the skills needed to help businesses and the economy prosper, and fill the gap companies say is causing them problems when recruiting staff capable of filling its roles.

The bid was this week approved by the Department of Education, with the school to be based in a new building.

The plans have been backed by the NHS, Caterpillar and Sherburn Stone, with the school to specialise in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, health and early-years care.

The students will spend time each week in paid and unpaid work placement linked to jobs in the area, and each will have a personal coach to help tailor their studies and work to their needs and aspirations.

Lesley Powell, principal of the Academy, said: “This is great news for our region’s young people, as well as the many local employers who have backed us straight from the start.”

Suzanne Duncan, principal at the college, added: “We look forward to working with our partner The Academy at Shotton Hall, to deliver a new exciting education offer that will better meet the needs of the young people in East Durham.”

The school will become one of 44 across England, with 16 already running and the remainder to launch in September.

Schools minister Lord Nash: “I am delighted to be approving such a strong field of studio schools to the next stage.

“More employers are getting involved, demonstrating their commitment to preparing young people – who will be their future employees – to the world of work.

“It is crucial for young people to have the skills and experience vital to employers both for their own prosperity and to help us compete in the global race.”