Initiative to overcome skills gap and help young people win jobs

A new curriculum for a new maritime course has been developed by Cowes Enterprise College in the Isle of Wight to help pupils secure jobs in the marine industry and also help combat a skills gap.

The new course curriculum is called ‘Maritime Economy’ and it covers boatbuilding including specifications and designing prototypes; navigation electronics; celestial navigation; tides; admiralty chart conventions; shipping forecasts; practical boat-handling skills; and attending Cowes Regatta to celebrate the production of boats.

The College is one of 38 schools in the UK run by Ormiston Academies Trust, a leading education charity. Ormiston was awarded almost £97,000 by the Edge Foundation to develop and deliver a maritime economy curriculum project to help meet a skills gaps in the industry.

The Trust was awarded the funding after it had submitted an application that highlighted how the project will support the development of project-based learning and employer engagement and at the same time, also address any skills gap in the UK’s maritime industry.

Cowes Enterprise College is a top performing secondary school and in the initiative with this new curriculum it will work with businesses in the marine sector and with further education providers to build a vocational curriculum for students.

Implementing the curriculum will combine theory sessions in the classroom along with practical learning linked to the maritime industry. This is intended to help students develop practical skills while enabling them to gain education and employment on the Island and elsewhere in the UK.

The Maritime Skills Alliance and CECAMM, part of the Isle of Wight College are among the partners who will support on curriculum development. CECAMM is a new £12m specialist centre for engineering, offering specialised education and training.

Nick Hudson, CEO of Ormiston Academies Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. This work will address the skills needs of the maritime industry whilst ensuring young people at Cowes Enterprise College are provided with the knowledge and skills needed for the maritime sector.”

“For many young people,” he added, “linking learning to local businesses and seeing the practical application of study in the classroom can be a game-changer. By working with organisations such as the Edge Foundation to lead projects such as this, we are making a real difference to the lives of pupils both within and beyond the classroom.”

Rachel Kitley, Principal of Cowes Enterprise College, commented: “This is an exciting project for Cowes Enterprise College, and we look forward to developing and then delivering a high-quality vocational curriculum that integrates practical learning with the regional economy. We will work in close partnership with local employers and further education providers to ensure we are providing our pupils with not only a breadth of choice at 14, but the kind of skills that will last for a lifetime.”