www.watton-norfolk.org.uk  richard@watton-norfolk.org.uk

Vocational Skills Centre for
Wayland Community High School

Thursday 15th November saw the launch of an initiative to bring a Vocational Skills Centre to Watton.
Mr Michael Rose, the head teacher opened the meeting which had been called to raise awareness
and funding for this much needed facility. He said "In this part of Norfolk some 80% of the 16-18 year olds
remain in some form of further education, which is far below the national average. Government figures
indicate that the number of youngsters in the 14-19 age group will increase and and a new diploma
programme is being set up  to ensure young people gain employable skills and some experience of the work
place. Completion of courses will lead to an acceptable diploma that is acceptable by employers.

Wayland will be able to deliver this diploma scheme as part of a collaborative partnership between schools
colleges and employers. This partnership is already in place, starting some 4 years ago with
Mansell Construction Company. Now the collaboration includes Wayland Community High School,
Methwold High School, Hamonds High School, Downham Market High School, The College
of West Anglia, Norwich City College, Mansell Construction Company, The Norfolk Learning
Authority, Norfolk Property Services, The Learning Skills Council, the East of England Development
Agency and more recently the Hethel Engineering Centre. The Open Road Project from Norwich
provides a strong basis from which we can build a unique centre that challenges rural isolation,
low aspirations and skill shortages in the lives of our young people in an area where;

Opportunities for work based learning are low
The nearest major sources of work based learning is some 20 miles away
Construction is the second most popular choice of young people in the West as a possible career
but the distance from colleges involving a 12 hour day put many of them off.
Engineering has a 'dirty image and many secondary pupils know little about careers in Education.

We must:
Widen the choice of stronger vocational routes for young people
Increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality and success rates
Guarantee 14-19 year olds a vital and suitable learning opportunity

By these actions we can tackle social inclusions, raise awareness about career and trade
opportunities, raise aspirations and esteem and improve access to local opportunities.

All be it from 2009, would not it be great if the Vocational Skills Centre could start to make
a significant contribution towards enabling young people and communities to develop
 the skills needed to support regeneration. Think of the opportunities that will arise before and
beyond the Olympics and Paralympics in 2010. What a great opportunity to showcase exciting
innovation and ideas from Norfolk.

Should we not now respond to our social and moral duty  to provide young people with career
and job prospects as this County grows and develops in the next 20 years. Our local builders,
local engineers and tradesmen contributing to the lives and environment of our beautiful County."

The evening had a variety of other speakers from the partnership members and a clear message
came across that to provide the already partially funded centre more partners are needed.
Do you have the skills and knowledge needed?
Do you know of any other who will join in?
Can you access resources to ensure the full potential of the centre?

Contact the school and talk to Mr Rose if you can help in any way.