Two of our schools have reacted to pandemic restrictions by launching a new virtual initiative for students.

The Whitehaven and Workington academies have joined with some of the area’s biggest employers and training providers to host a Futures Week for all their Year 11 students.

Futures Week takes place from November 23-27. It will offer students interactive activities in a range of areas including courses available at West Coast Sixth Form and Lakes College and through apprenticeship providers such as Sellafield, Gen2, System People and RWP.

Careers Leader Andrea McAllister said it was important that current restrictions did not close off future education, training and employment opportunities for young people.

Throughout the week 200 students will take part in virtual tasks to make sure they are fully aware of all the opportunities available. Each session will offer information and activities enabling students to understand the benefits and demands of each option.

Parents and carers are also being encouraged to get involved through live broadcasts with the providers via Microsoft Teams.

This will include a session from the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) programme, which gives schools across England support to develop and transform how students think about apprenticeships.

Mrs McAllister said: “We are committed to preparing young people for their next steps, either in the world of work or continuing education or training. Our West Coast Sixth Form offers a range of courses suitable for many students and is a good way to keep options open for the future, but it is not the only option.

“We are therefore working with Year 11 students to promote pathways available to all to make sure that each young person is fully aware of their options and how to adapt to a changing world of work.”

The West Coast Sixth Form is a collaboration between Cumbria Education Trust’s Whitehaven and Workington academies. It was launched in September offering more than 30 A Level and vocational qualifications across the two sites, including popular new subjects such as health and social care; children’s play, learning and development and sport.