Pilot for 16 to 19s after Career College blow

A London college is to launch its own pilot Career College after failing to make the cut for the first round of the new Lord Baker-inspired 14 to 19 institutions.

When the former Conservative Education Secretary proposed Career Colleges in October, general FE colleges in Oldham, Oxford, Lambeth and Bromley were said to have expressed an interest.

But while Oldham was given the go ahead to open a Career College in September, with Oxford said to be looking at a 2015 start and Lambeth having dropped out due to an Ofsted grade three rating, there was no mention of Bromley.

However, Lynn Barratt (pictured), corporate development director at Bromley College, said it was still hopeful of opening a Career College. “We will pilot a hospitality, food and enterprise Career College to 16 to 19-year-olds from September with a view to the full 14 to 19 Career College opening in September next year,” she told FE Week.

“We are investing more than £2.5m in new facilities to support the hospitality food and enterprise curriculum which will not be fully open until October 2014 and therefore we have decided to defer the recruitment of 14 to 16-year-olds into the new Career College.”

Hugh Baird College, in Bootle, Merseyside, was the only other college told it could go ahead with plans for this year. Hugh Baird and Oldham will specialise in hospitality and catering, and creative and digital arts, respectively.

The announcement on who had been granted licenses from the Career Colleges Trust to open in September came on Wednesday (June 11) — along with news of hopes for at least a further ten next year.

Hugh Baird College principal Yana Williams said: “The visitor economy has been identified by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership as a key growth area with a range of employment opportunities for our learners.”

Oldham College principal Alun Francis said: “We are thrilled at the response we have had from Greater Manchester employers working in the digital and creative sector, and strongly believe that this initiative will play an important part in regenerating Oldham.”

Career Colleges Trust chair Luke Johnson, said: “The Career Colleges at Hugh Baird and Oldham represent very different industries. Not only does this demonstrate the diverse nature of our innovative educational concept, but it highlights the different employer/industry requirements in various areas.”

City of Oxford College, part of the Activate Learning group of colleges, was said by the trust to be interested in opening next year, specialising in construction. Four Career Colleges were also planned by Birmingham Metropolitan College with proposed specialisms in health and medical, engineering/electronics, creative arts/media and professional services.

Five other colleges were said to be working towards approval and hoped to open next year, but were not identified by the trust.

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