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How does education need to evolve to better prepare young people for the world of work?




The political landscape in education is ever changing, however, one topic has come to the forefront of discussions in the past couple of years. Careers education and preparing young people for work, has been an eternal issue with varying levels of priority in schools and colleges. With increasing pressures from league tables, there is a balance between preparing the skills to pass exams and skills to succeed in the work place.


The challenge for all schools and young people is demonstrating to future employers skills which can’t be seen via a list of grades and numbers - communication, determination, work ethic, enthusiasm.

I have the privilege of being Headteacher at North East Futures UTC, in Newcastle. UTCs are future focussed 14-19 schools. North East Futures UTC in Newcastle is the newest of around 50 UTCs nationally. We specialise in digital technology and healthcare science. We opened in 2018 and after just 1 year have over 230 young people on roll. We run traditional subjects such as GCSE Maths and A Level Physics but we offer a more career centred approach that we call ‘UTCness’. UTCness is all about giving students insight into the working world – going into business for work experience, meeting people from industry in mentoring sessions and completing real life industry projects are just a few examples. Our challenge is to keep a really good record of the UTCness work our students do to ensure they (and we) are able to ‘sell’ the awesome work they do. We believe UTCness makes our students more employable – better communicators, better problem solvers, better leaders with better technical skills.


The digital world we live in is a prime example of how demonstrating skills and talents transcends a piece of paper with grades and numbers.

The challenge for all schools and young people is demonstrating to future employers skills which can’t be seen via a list of grades and numbers - communication, determination, work ethic, enthusiasm. The digital world we live in is a prime example of how demonstrating skills and talents transcends a piece of paper with grades and numbers. We use Global Bridge to build a picture of all the UTCness work each of our students completes. This provides us with a fantastic evidence base and provides the young people with a brilliant tool to evidence their vast range of UTCness experiences so they can get the best Apprenticeships and jobs – and when we say jobs we are talking future-proofed jobs in two of the largest, fastest growing sectors in the north east. Gen Z needs an appropriate platform to showcase their skills to universities and industry. We are using globalbridge to #BridgeTheGap for our students.


Dan Sydes, Principal - North East Futures UTC

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