On Monday 20th February, The JCB Academy was visited by the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP.
The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP was welcomed by The JCB Academy Principal, Jim Wade and Chair of Governors, David Bell. The short visit consisted of a brief tour of the academy and a discussion with former and current academy learners.
Principal Jim Wade said, “As the first of the new technical schools in the UK we have always attracted interest from dignitaries, including the likes of the Secretary of State for Education. It was fantastic to listen to Ms Greening’s enthusiasm for technical education and how inspired she was after hearing how The JCB Academy has impacted upon the opportunities and life chances of those she met on the visit”.
Chair of Governors, David Bell said, “We arranged for several of our current and former learners to meet with Ms Greening hoping it will give a real insight into The JCB Academy. This also gave the learners an opportunity to discuss the benefits of studying at technical and business focussed schools like ours and to tell their own individual stories from their time at the academy”.
The learners sat with Ms Greening to talk about their experiences at the academy and their current employment or education status. There was a mix of current and former learners on the day, some who are studying at university, some who are on an apprenticeship and others who are now employed after completing their apprenticeships. But one thing that all the learners did unite on was how well they had adapted to their working life due to the academy’s business-like approach. Principal, Jim Wade explains, “We want to develop learners who are appealing to an employer and prepare the learners for their working life. We are a very business-like school, our school hours are 8:30am – 5pm and our learning is unique, we partner with several industry leading companies who work with us to develop our curriculum giving the learners exposure to real industry projects and also the chance to engage with employees rather than just the teachers”.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “I was hugely impressed by the learners I met at The JCB Academy. They are a great example of how effectively a strong UTC can prepare young people for the workplace with technical and practical experience. All of the former learners have already progressed to building their careers, with a bright future ahead of them”.
Former JCB Academy learner, Holly Broadhurst from Leek, who was recently crowned the best in the country at the National Apprenticeship Awards and currently working at JCB, says, “The key difference for me was that the learning was not based in a textbook; everything that you learnt was for a purpose and you saw that from the real life examples that were shown through the partnering companies.”