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Forster Community College  
  Vocational Taster

Forster Community College is offering a 20 week Vocational Taster Programme for schools who wish to better support Key Stage 5 Students in exploring vocational training opportunities, especially the most vulnerable Students and those who are on the SEND register. The aim is to ensure Students have experienced and considered alternative education and training routes.

The programme is led by qualified, specialist Tutors and will include opportunities to meet experts in a range of sectors, practical hands-on activities and opportunities to gain accredited qualifications. Throughout the programme, Students will be encouraged to explore their own learning preferences and get advice about the skills and qualifications needed for their chosen profession.

The programme, which can be tailored to fit individual or curriculum specific requirements, takes place over 20 whole-day sessions, and will typically include:

  • Induction to Forster Community College, programme information and assessments
  • How to be self-employed – case study using the arts and creative sector
  • First Aid (including an accredited Level 2 Award with Qualsafe)
  • Working in education – what it’s like to be a teacher
  • Business administration – the realities of office work
  • Food Safety in Catering (including an accredited Level 2 Award with CIEH)
  • Customer service – in Retail, Catering and Hospitality
  • Grow your Own - Horticulture and Land Management
  • Sporting success – careers in Sport and Leisure including a visit to local sports teams
  • A career in Cooking
  • Rocket Science – careers in science
  • A day with the Emergency Services
  • Starting your own business – a day as an Entrepreneur
  • Looking after others – Health, Social and Child care
  • Reflection Day – what have you learned and where next?

Tutors will also help Students develop employability skills and plan next steps including:

  • CV preparation and interview skills
  • Gaining work experience and becoming a volunteer
  • Teamwork
  • Communication and presentation Skills
  • Apprenticeships/traineeships

This programme has been developed following an extremely successful pilot programme with Bradford Academy. Our evaluation demonstrated that all Students:

  • Gained a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Developed a better understanding of their preferred career options
  • Developed their communication, critical thinking and presentation skills
  • Gained a better understanding of and respect for the role of emergency services staff
  • Were able to set personal goals and plan actions needed to achieve their goals
  • Said that they felt more confident

In the words of the young people:

“I have enjoyed my experience at Forster Community College... I have boosted my confidence working with people in a team”.

“I have really enjoyed my experiences at Forster Community College, the Tutors were very friendly... the experience at the College has given me an idea of what I would like to do in the future.”

“...made me realise that people who work for the services should be respected more and that they are the same as everybody else”

“My long term goal after College/further education: Apprenticeship”

In the words of Tehmina Hashmi Acting Principal, Bradford Academy

“The Access pilot has been a huge success for our Students. As an inclusive Post-16 provider our ambition to ensure that all Learners have a successful progression route has been at the heart of the design we have built together. A personalised approach, taking into account the needs of each individual learner has engaged our most vulnerable Learners and enthused them with the prospect of moving further into training and education. We have seen our Students flourish as they experience real success in a range of contexts.”

In the words of Mike Howard, Assistant Vice Principal (Post 16), Bradford Academy

“Following an unsuccessful and disappointing collaboration with an alternative provider in 2013-14, we established a new relationship with Bradford Forster Community College and launched this with Students in September 2015.

We have a group of Students on our Access Course at post 16 at Bradford Academy. These Students take Level 2 qualifications in English and Mathematics alongside 2 other Level 2 qualifications they have selected from our choice of 6 other subjects. This is their provision for 4 days of the week.

For day 5 of their weekly provision, we have offered Students the opportunity of either undertaking Work Experience, organised either by themselves or through us, or a College placement. The aim of this day is to ensure Students have experienced and considered alternative education and training routes following the completion of their Access Course. Many of the Students are among our most vulnerable and many are on the SEND register.

Initially, our arrangement with Forster Community College was for the College to provide a 24 week Hospitality and Catering course utilising the facilities that the College is able to offer. The College and the Tutors have been extremely flexible in amending the course to suit our Students and providing the support and care we aim to offer within our academy for the Students.

Building on our excellent relationship with the College, we approached them to offer a taster programme for Students who had not accessed the Hospitality and Catering course and who we wanted to ensure had received a vocational experience to help them make decisions on their future progression. The College developed the 15 week Vocational Taster Programme for our Students and again proved to be extremely flexible and supportive in establishing the course. The feedback from the Students has been extremely positive and we are delighted with the relationship we have developed with the College and the foundation we have built which will allow us to develop the relationship further in the forthcoming years. All members of staff have been extremely helpful, responsive and creative in ensuring that the experience for the Students has been as beneficial and enjoyable as possible. We look forward to continuing to work with the College in the next academic year and beyond."

A comment by Alistair Griffin, Business Service Manager, Forster Community College

"I was impressed when an adult learner came up to me to tell me that their neighbour's child, who attends Bradford Academy a few years below the Learners who are attending the pilot vocational taster programme, had said that they were talking to the older Students and she was excited to be able to come on the programme herself one day. The fact that the young people are talking to other Students about the programme with such enthusiasm, and those Students are telling their parents, lets me know we are making an impact."

Additional Services for Schools
  • College Away Days – short College experiences for Learners
  • Vocational Subject Delivery – delivery of specific vocational training in a College environment, ideal to support Student development
  • Staff Training & Development – bespoke staff training from first aid to leadership and management

To discuss the Vocational Taster Programme or any other Services for Schools contact Alistair Griffin on
01274 308 707 or schools@forster.ac.uk 01274 308


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Tel: 01274 308707 - Fax: 01274 305764 - Registered in England No 2108177 - Registered Charity Number 519382