We want to talk to you about our School-College Partnership Programme. Or rather, let the pupils talk to you about it.
This year S4, S5 and S6 pupils from across Ayrshire are able to enhance their employability and progression pathways by attending a college course that complements their school subjects.
Qualifications on offer include Skills for Work, National Progression Awards, National Certificates and National Qualifications.
We’ll be following the progress of a number of pupils – who are studying a range of courses – at different stages of the programme to show how the College’s partnership with Ayrshire secondary schools works, and how coming to college while you’re at school could work for you (or if you’re a parent reading this – your daughter/son).
16-year-old Jacob Adamson from St. Matthew’s Academy is first up to give us his initial impressions of his Performing Engineering Operations course at the Skills Centre of Excellence in Irvine. This qualification underpins the new Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship.
First of all Jacob, why did you choose the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course?
Mainly because I’m interested in engineering – especially electrical engineering. I thought this would be the best place for me to work towards getting an apprenticeship.
How were you made aware of the PEO?
It was actually my Mum, who works at the College, who first made me aware of it. I talked it over through the school with guidance teachers and we decided that this was the best route for me.
Talk to me about the course. What have you been doing so far?
We’re in two days a week from 9am to 3/4pm depending on how much work we’re getting through.
On Thursdays it’s mainly electrical work and then on Fridays it’s a lot of metalwork and computing, which is when we plan the technical parts of the course and also work on our CVs.
For the electronic tasks we’re learning how to wire up sockets, plugs and switches and learning how they work. It’s very interesting and useful to know – even just for using in your own house.
The metalwork has predominantly been showing us how to use the hammer, the hacksaw and some filing work.
What have you enjoyed the most?
Although the metalwork is great fun I’d say the electrical work is my favourite part of the course.
But also meeting new people and having that extra responsibility. It’s great – I love everything about it really.
What’s been the most challenging aspect?
I’ve not struggled with much but I would definitely say the metalwork is the hardest work, where the most effort needs to be put in.
Have you had any previous experience of these tasks at school?
I did some technical drawing in graphic communications during fourth year and I’ve also done the basic technical class where we made wooden boxes and things like that. That’s similar but here it’s a lot more specific.
How does attending the PEO work with attending school?
Well I sat five highers last year but this year I’m only doing two, which helps. Some of my classmates are sitting three or four subjects but I’m really happy to sit the two as I find that I’m enjoying the two days at the College and my school work is going great.
How does college compare to school?
You seem to get a lot more freedom in the College. If you’re feeling like a break, and everyone agrees, then they’ll let you take one. It feels like you’ve got a lot more responsibility whereas in school you know exactly what you’re doing all of the time. I don’t think there’s much pressure at school but here you’ve got to ensure you’re doing a good job and you’ve got that extra responsibility – which I enjoy.
The lecturers have a different approach to teachers too.
How many are in your class?
There are 11 of us in the PEO class. I’m the only one from St. Matthew’s Academy, the others are from Irvine Royal Academy and Kilwinning Academy.
What are your ambitions?
I want an apprenticeship once I’ve finished this year. I’ve been looking everywhere to find out what my options are – like Hunterston B Power Station, the Merchant Navy, oil rigs or with a local company. I’m just looking into everything. I know that an apprenticeship is what I’m looking to do.
We will catch up with Jacob in February to find out how he is progressing on the course, where we will also film each of our case study pupils for a promotional video.