Launched last year, Career Colleges recruit students at age 14 and are intended to provide a combination of academic and vocational education alongside a specific industry specialism.
The two colleges opening this September will be based at Oldham College in Greater Manchester, specialising in creative and digital arts, and Hugh Baird College in Liverpool, focusing on hospitality and catering.
Both have strong support from local industry and employers, who have been involved in designing the curriculum and will be supporting delivery from September.
A further seven colleges are hoping to receive approval to open next year, including Birmingham Metropolitan College and City of Oxford College.
More than 60 “prospects” are currently with the Career Colleges Trust for approval and it is hoped that within four years there will be around 40 open.
Alun Francis, principal of Oldham College, added: “Our focus will be on digital and creative industries, as they are vital growth sectors in Greater Manchester, and are expected to generate over 23,000 jobs in the next decade.
“The Digital Career College will bring a different approach to 14 to 19 education and training in this sector. The close involvement of employers will ensure that the curriculum is relevant to the labour market and students will acquire the specialist skills and knowledge they will need to secure employment or set up their own business.”
Meanwhile, Yana Williams, principal of Hugh Baird College, said they had already filled their year 10 cohort for September.
“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.
“By focusing our Career College on the hospitality and catering industry, we are confident that we will help to ensure that employers’ needs are fulfilled in future years with highly skilled, work-ready individuals with a clear understanding of the sector and employer expectations.”
Chairman of the Career Colleges Trust, Luke Johnson, said: “Career Colleges provide young people with the opportunity to develop life-skills and gain practical experience within a specific industry – alongside a rigorous academic education.
“This is essential in today’s world, where we see so many skills gaps, yet still suffer from high youth unemployment. As a business owner myself, I know employers need young people to be ready for work, and able to adapt to the workplace. Career Colleges will help arm them with this essential know-how.”
For more on Career Colleges, visit www.careercolleges.org.uk