STUDENTS in Kirklees are leading the way in a groundbreaking project aimed at helping youngsters in to the world of work.
Year 10 students at Netherhall Learning Campus are part of the pilot Studio Schools project which aims to help 14 to 19 year olds gain vital new skills.
Kirklees is one of six authorities joining the pilot – which offers a different approach to learning and a chance to work directly with business partners.
Creative and media diploma students in Rawthorpe have received praise from Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls for the project.
Local businessman Bill Macbeth, managing director of the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield said: “Business colleagues and staff have helped to set up an agency in the school called 17 Media.
“And they have given the students their first commission which looks at the marketing of apprenticeships to young people .
“The approach they have taken and the appetite of teachers towards the project has changed the views of a number of people in business.
“Everyone has demonstrated a very refreshing attitude and has taken to this initiative 100 per cent.
“The students learn through the diploma but they are also doing real work and taking up the roles of a real company.
“This will help them in their future lives.”
Joan Young, headteacher at the Netherhall Learning campus, said the feedback from students had been extremely positive.
“They are loving this chance to work with influential local people.
“It’s new, it’s different and to do something like a presentation for a group of employers is a fantastic learning experience.
“Netherhall’s strength was already in creative and media, but now we are building on that.
“Studio schools are another path to achievement”
The plan is for Studio Schools to roll out nationally and to accommodate up to 300 young people at the Rawthorpe centre.
Students will follow the National Curriculum, but there will also be a large element of work placement and direct work with businesses.
Clr John Smithson, joint Kirklees cabinet member for children and families said: “It is very encouraging that Kirklees has been chosen to pilot the Studio School approach to enhance the education and life prospects of our students.
“The work taking place at the Netherhall Learning Campus is innovative and a significant help for the young people involved.
“We are extremely grateful to local companies for their invaluable support and are confident its success will mean it will be adopted as a permanent feature in education.”