The launch of the Pathways to Technology project, known as P-TECH, took place at the Civic Hall on Monday 18 March.
IBM has developed the P-TECH programme to prepare young people for the future and to give them the technical and employability skills they need to secure good quality jobs or continue their studies.
The project has been successfully implemented in the USA and across over 100 schools worldwide. It supports students who are interested in pursuing careers in technology and digital media to develop their skills and realise their ambitions.
It brings together the best elements of school, further and higher education and work experience to give young people better access to jobs and university.
The programme will run in Leeds alongside traditional GCSEs and A-Levels, with graduating students gaining a qualification such as a BTEC or HNC through a combination of classroom learning, work experience and paid internship opportunities.
The UK pilot of the project is taking place exclusively in Leeds as a partnership between IBM, Cockburn MAT, Leeds City College and Leeds Beckett University.
The students in attendance listened to illuminating key note speeches and participated in practical sessions to explore the future of technology and their future roles in a constantly changing employment landscape.
David Gurney, Executive Headteacher of Cockburn Multi-academy Trust said:
“I am extremely proud to be a partner in this programme – ‘Working in the spirit of partnership’ is key to the success of the Cockburn Multi-academy Trust. We seek to widen our students’ aspirations so they can reach destinations that are attainable and fulfilling. P-Tech fits perfectly with our vision of ‘Transformation to Excellence’ that focuses on a relentless drive to continue to improve and excel in all areas.”
There was also a lot of positive feedback from the students involved.
“We had to be very imaginative” said Charlie in Year 9 “it was exciting to try to predict the future.” Zayn, also in Year 9, said “It is amazing how much technology can do for us – from making a sandwich to diagnosing illness.”
This post is based on a press release issued by Cockburn MAT
Photo: Cockburn MAT students, Cockburn MAT Senior Staff, Senior IBM staff including the UK and Ireland Chief Executive, Bill Kelleher at Leeds Civic Hall