Studley High School awarded grant to bridge skills gap

Pupils at Studley High School interested in engineering related roles are taking part in an exciting new project to develop the skills needed to succeed in the local engineering and precision manufacturing job market, thanks to a boost from Warwickshire County Council’s Skills for Employment programme.

Across the region, engineering firms of all sizes are struggling to fill engineering and programming roles. For example, engineering firms such as GKN and Ricor, as well as smaller companies such as haulage firm Allelys, and others, need a workforce with skills in project management, CAD design, production management, engineering solutions and logistics.

The skills needed for roles in this highly successful sector are linked to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects; yet we know, not enough young people are choosing these subjects.

The County Council is tackling this issue head on with its Skills Challenge grant worth between £20,000 and £40,000 available to projects which address a specific skills need.

Studley High School has been awarded one such grant of £37,800 to help improve the match between the STEM skills of young people and jobs in the area.

This project, which runs from September 2017 – August 2018, will cater for pupils of all ages and abilities at the school, and will work with a ‘community’ of local businesses of different sizes, addressing a range of skills needs. Some of the elements of the project include:

  • Computer programming training provided to pupils by engineering solution company, Visual Factory.
  • Ricor, GKN and Allelys Haulage and others continue to engage with the school in supporting skill development through projects such as the design and development of cars or the design and build of Go Karts.
  • Young people aged 10-16 to experience practical applications of STEM knowledge and skills through school and industry based projects such as employability and widening horizons as well as subject based developments linked to technical design, LEGO and robotics.
  • Workshops and conference style days will assist young people to weigh up decisions around their future career paths.
  • Cross company development days promoting interview techniques and skills alongside the development of CVs and building appropriate career related experience.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and board member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“The Skills Challenge grant funding supports projects which tackle specific skills challenges in our region. Getting more young people into employment with relevant skills is in everyone’s interests, as businesses receive an opportunity to train talented recruits while those young people get a great start to their career path. Studley High School’s innovative project will help young people gain the skills they need to succeed in the local engineering industry.”

Cllr Collin Hayfield, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for education said: “Companies in our region are short of engineers and technicians. This mirrors the national picture, but here in Warwickshire, we are working to address this gap with initiatives like the Skills Challenge grant. We need many more young people to be inspired and trained to take up valuable roles in our thriving engineering sector.”

Lee Gray, Headteacher, Studley High School said:

“The Skills Challenge grant is helping us maximise the future job opportunities for our students in the thriving engineering and programming sector. This project means that local businesses will engage directly with hundreds of students and possible future employees at Studley High School and other local primary schools. Tailored work experience placements will help develop the right skills and attributes needed to succeed in the local engineering and programming job market.  At the same time, our students will be able to get a flavour of the kind of opportunities available and the skills required to succeed in this sector.”

Take a look at this short film to hear more from Lee Gray about the Skills Challenge project at Studley High School: