As a Trust, we have a firm belief that learning of all types and for a range of purposes, matters. Learning for the love of the subject and to study that subject further, either at university or as a lifelong interest is something we love to promote. Equally, learning with the aim of being able to apply it in a hobby, skill, trade or profession is of equal value to us.
The term ‘vocational education’ is often thought of pejoratively – it can be seen as an easy gain, or a paper-based exercise that does not prepare someone adequately for the profession to which it allegedly relates. At Aldridge Education, we don’t think or behave like this.
We see all learning as ‘stuff’ that changes the way we see the world, as equipping us for the future, as shaping us as individuals and as preparing us for our next steps. We think in terms of academics and applied academics. Because we have a diverse group of institutions in our trust, some of these are more heavily focused on academics and others are developing to become centres of excellence in applied academics.
Our aim is that because of the relevance of our course choices and the quality of our curriculum, these learners will be fully equipped in our specialist areas to access top third universities or other specialism-leading undergraduate provision. However, we also seek to provide sufficient real-world experiences that the industry elite will invite our learners to take up apprenticeships, employment and training posts with them straight from their level 2 or 3 studies. Equally, for some of our learners, they may wish to venture into business independently and our Creates package is available to support these individuals.
Our mechanism for excellence in applied academics is a handful of elite industry partners that we develop with care. We offer a package of quality contacts with and for our learners. We believe these relationships are symbiotic – they do great good to both parties:
- Our learners leave us as the ‘pick of the crop’ – they have more industry skill and knowledge than the average school-leaver and can take their pick of opportunities available to them with confidence that they belong; they know because they’ve already experienced it; they can be successful in their chosen field.
- Our elite partners gain the opportunity to watch our learners develop over time; they are offered the opportunity to shape the education and experiences our learners receive and to prepare these learners for their industry. They gain privileged access to our cohort of learners and the chance to offer recruitment packages before any other recruiter. Potentially, we could be providing a significant percentage of the employer’s school-leaving workforce year on year – with all the knowledge and skills the employer is looking for.