A total of 47 sixth-formers from Ponteland High School recently joined contingents from Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham, and Prudhoe High School at a tailored careers event.
It was designed to highlight opportunities for students that are not the direct route through university.
Held at the Fuse Media Centre in Prudhoe, those who attended met with representatives from a variety of industries and training providers and saw presentations about apprenticeships, workplace training, sponsored degree schemes, foundation degrees and other routes into and through the world of work.
Apprenticeships are no longer just aimed at vocational subjects and trades and many academically-able students are seeing them as a viable alternative to a straightforward degree course.
Representatives from firms such as KPMG and Ernst & Young not only presented information to pupils on the day, but went to Pont High later in the week to speak to parents and students at its expanded Year 12 parents’ evening.
School leavers in recent years have successfully completed apprenticeships at Egger (UK), PricewaterhouseCoopers and Eversheds as well as several smaller companies.
David Hicklenton, assistant headteacher at Ponteland High School, said: “These events have been excellent at raising awareness of the range of options available to sixth-form students.
“Most of our students still opt for the ‘conventional’ university route and about 80 per cent of our Year 13s have now completed their applications to university, but several are looking at the diverse range of opportunities in front of them and making alternative choices that are equally important and equally supported by our sixth-form team.”