23 May 2022
Around a dozen students at South Bank University Technical College (UTC) were unable to take their places on engineering apprenticeships at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, due to their prospective employers instigating hiring freezes in response to the impact of coronavirus. Faced with the challenge of these pupils finishing school in the height of a pandemic, the UTC collaborated with other members of LSBU Group to find a solution. They quickly spotted that the BTEC engineering programme offered at the UTC covered much of the content in the University’s HNC mechanical engineering course. Working together, South Bank UTC and LSBU created a new “Year 14” to enable pupils to stay on for an extra fifth year at the school.
By working with the university on curriculum content and enrichment activities, that additional year gave the students the opportunity to enhance their level 3 BTEC study to meet the HNC requirement at level 4. Thanks to this innovative approach, students are not missing out on their qualifications due to factors outside of their control, and instead have had a new pathway created for them as well as the opportunity to achieve a level 4 qualification for free. At the conclusion of the pilot year, around a third of the students chose to matriculate into the second year of the degree while the others found relevant employment. The UTC is now looking to expand its Year 14 provision into other subject areas.