Employers are being asked to support a unique course in business administration and finance being launched at a Welsh college next month to help set students on the road to work.
Eight companies have already pledged to provide two days a week work placements for students attending the course at Coleg Morgannwg in Rhondda Cynon Taff, but more are needed.
Part of the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification, the new Principal Lines of Learning in Business Administration and Finance course is the first of its kind in Wales, and is being offered in partnership with Acorn Learning Solutions and Coleg Morgannwg, to 15 students, aged 16 to 19.
An alternative to traditional A-levels, the course was unveiled at the Acorn Recruitment and Training offices in Cardiff when companies across South Wales were given the opportunity to sign up and take on a student from the course for two days work a week for two years during term-time, at no cost.
At least five businesses have already committed to supporting the new qualification – Clode Finance, Leekes, Admiral, Leading Edge telecoms and Acorn Recruitment, who will each take on a member of the course to coach and mentor them in the field of business administration.
But more companies with a finance background or business administration function are being sought – particularly in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area – to ensure all 15 students enrolled on the first course, which starts in September, receive the two-year work placements.
In a climate where youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and where many employers believe young people lack the necessary skills for the workplace, the new qualification will be divided equally between study in college and work experience.
Students will spend two days a week in college, two days at a work experience placement, and the remaining day will be used for personal study.
The Welsh Baccalaureate core qualification equates to 120 UCAS points, with students gaining further points depending on their grade for the principal lines of learning qualification. This means students can use the qualification as grounding for immediate employment or apprenticeships, or to go on to Higher Education.
Ann McConnon, Head of Corporate Development at Acorn, said: “This is a unique opportunity not only for students looking for an alternative to traditional study and the chance to develop their career prospects, but for local business looking to support the workforce of the future.
“We will be working with Cole Morgannwg to identify suitable employers who can offer a variety of work placements, giving students the chance to gain valuable work-related skills with a reputable, local employer.
“The value of these skills cannot be underestimated and will ensure students have an excellent platform and grounding to begin a career in this field.
“Furthermore, employers will be actively involved and engaged in delivering the programme, making it excellent preparation for the world of work for students, as well as offering the employer the chance to nurture talent and benefit from the addition to their workforce.”
Timelines for this opportunity is tight as businesses would need to be ready to take a young student by the 10th September. So businesses interested in more information on the work placement opportunities should contact Ann McConnon on 01633 663000.
Students applying for the course will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above or a merit or a diploma in a Level 2 Btec qualification. Some students may also be able to use vocational qualifications as a basis for entry.