Darwen Aldridge Community Academy is proud to be the first Entrepreneurship Career Academy in the UK. The first group of students started the Career Academy programme in September 2009. Brighton and Portslade Aldridge Community Academies expect to follow suit over the coming months with a joint project.
Career Academies are run by affiliated schools and colleges, and administered centrally by Career Academies UK. The scheme aims to raise the aspirations of 16-19 year olds by partnering education establishments with local, national and international businesses.
A recent study of the Career Academies programme found that 99% of Career Academy coordinators agreed that the programme “raises the aspirations of students,” and 97% of Career Academy alumni believe that the programme has had a positive impact on their education or career aspirations.
Career Academy students follow a rigorous two-year curriculum equivalent to at least three A levels. Within this framework, the exact content of the programme of study is decided locally, in consultation with Career Academies UK staff. It can include vocational qualifications such as BTEC or Applied A levels, as well as the Advanced Diploma, or a combination of these, depending on local need.
The aim of any Career Academy programme is to provide a relatively broad and rounded education for a young person studying for Level 3 qualifications, rather than training for any specific career or business sector. As well as excellent subject knowledge, Career Academies equip students with valuable life skills. Employability training forms a key part of the curriculum offer.
The whole Career Academy class follows the same programme of study with its various curriculum enhancements, including:
- Visiting speakers
- Mentoring by employee volunteers
- A six-week paid internship between the first and second year
- Employer-led seminars
DACA Career Academy students have already taken part in two national conferences in London, meeting employers and enjoying the 'Capital Experience'.