Primary pupils get start in world of work

A PASSPORT to employment scheme to help pupils in the job market which starts while they are still in primary school is being launched in Bradford.

The idea is being developed by Tong High School, in Bradford, which is encouraging its 30 feeder primary schools to work with it to improve work experience.

Tong High is run by an education trust which involves local employers and Bradford University.

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Head teacher Stephen Curran said he wanted to use this as a vehicle to broaden pupils’ curriculum and build links with other schools, businesses and community organisations locally.

It is looking to work with its feeder primary schools to create a Passport to Employment scheme in which pupils can record all of the work experience they carry out throughout their school life.

Primary schools could take part in workplace trips or host visits from employers to help pupils to learn about the world of work.

It already works with some of its feeder schools on a reading buddies scheme which sees sixth formers helping primary age pupils to improve their literacy skills.

Another part of Tong High’s work experience plan is to roll out a project which proved successful when piloted at a construction company to boost pupil’s job prospects.

Instead of pupils being sent to a workplace for a week and waiting to be given jobs to do, students will be expected to carry out a research project on the employer they spend time with and then produce a presentation on it.

The idea of the scheme is to help pupils understand how a company works and the type of skills people need to be a success there.

The school started this with the Classroom in Construction project which saw students working with Moortown Construction, in Bradford.

Moortown Construction has also helped to transform a disused caretaker’s house on the school site into a real building site so students can develop practical skills.

The company donated equipment and supplies such as hard hats and high-visibility jackets to building supplies like bricks and doors as well as the equipment needed to undertake the work such as trowels and mortar.

Now Tong High has secured similar agreements with Hallmark Cards and Omar Khan’s restaurant in Bradford for GCSE graphics and food students to go on placements.

Mr Curran said he hoped the scheme would build links with local employers in a variety of sectors to ensures students receive relevant work experience.

He said: “We’re delighted to be working with Moortown to deliver an innovative scheme to develop our students who want a career in the construction industry.

“The scheme will now be used as a template for working with other business partners to demonstrate the commitment required to offer work experience to our pupils.

“With youth unemployment at record levels and 250,000 young people currently not in education, employment and training, we are working hard to ensure our students are best equipped to reach their full potential – whether they’re set for university life or the world of work.

“As part of this, we are building links with leading businesses to ensure we continue to develop employability skills.

“We want students of all abilities and starting points to have a firm grounding for their future working life, including those young people who will enter the world of work at graduate level.

“Our next phase of development includes working with our employer partners to develop an ‘internship’ type programme for graduate entry level.”

Steve O’Keefe, construction manager for Moortown Construction, added: “I am passionate about working with Tong High School on this scheme.

“I believe that the industry needs schemes such as this to encourage people back into construction. There is also the potential for employment for students with Moortown following the scheme which will be based on individual performance throughout. We are recruiting students who have completed their Year 11 courses. ”

Tong High year 11 pupil Jordan Oddy said: “The classroom in construction programme has opened doors for me. Because my placement last year was so successful, Moortown Construction have offered me employment with a promise to develop my skills further.”