Innovative careers programme inspires more young people to consider job in engineering

The Engineering Expressway programme, run at Redcar & Cleveland College in North Yorkshire, is successfully inspiring 14 to 16 years old students to get on the right path for a future career in engineering. The first cohort of students has now graduated from the programme and all are now starting engineering apprenticeships, continuing with the BTEC Level 3 course or progressing to A-Levels.

The Expressway programme was jointly designed by Redcar & Cleveland College and Career Ready, and was launched in 2012. Working in partnership with local secondary schools and engineering employers, the programme allows students in years ten and eleven, to attend the college one day a week to undertake a level 2 BTEC Extended Certificate. 

The Expressway programme was jointly designed by Redcar & Cleveland College and Career Ready, and was launched in 2012. Working in partnership with local secondary schools and engineering employers, the programme allows students in years ten and eleven, to attend the college one day a week to undertake a level 2 BTEC Extended Certificate. 

The aim is to help students to understand the range of careers available in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields and support them to make the right choice of courses to pursue one of those careers. Many students have progressed from the expressway to the STEM Career Ready programme at Redcar & Cleveland College.

Now, thanks to funding and support from AstraZeneca, Career Ready is planning to launch the expressway model at several colleges across England from September 2015.

Ian Nichol, National STEM Development Manager for Career Ready, said: “The expressway model has proven to be a fantastic success, not just for inspiring young people to consider careers they may never have thought of, but also for encouraging them to work harder and aim higher.

“This is exactly the aim of the Career Ready programme and we relished the opportunity to work with Redcar & Cleveland to target even younger students. The additional funding from AstraZeneca will provide an excellent opportunity to extend this successful model across the country and we are now working with our existing College partners to identify suitable areas.”

Gary Groom, Principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, said: "The Expressway Route is a highly-successful model for engaging young people and ensuring that schools, colleges, businesses and students all work towards the same thing – achieving success and preparing young people for work.”

Caroline Hempstead, VP Group Corporate Affairs at AstraZeneca, said: “We are delighted to work with Career Ready to support increased participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects by 16 – 19 year old students. We want to raise the profile of STEM careers among young people and inspire them to consider roles they may never have thought of.

“The Expressway programme has demonstrated that we can and should be inspiring students from an even younger age and that is why we are giving Career Ready an additional £10,000 to extend this highly successful model nationally.”

Bethan Lynas, one of only two girls selected to study on the programme at Redcar & Cleveland College, said: “The expressways Route programme is excellent because it has enabled me to start studying engineering whilst still at school, so when I leave I will already have some qualifications and a lot of knowledge, placing me in an excellent position to get a job in engineering.”