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Skills Academy Case Studies

Courtney Robinson

A young student from Leeds College of Building has successfully progressed onto a higher education Construction Management course in Construction and the Built Environment despite struggling to succeed at school. Courtney Robinson is one of almost 200 school pupils who has benefited from a scheme that allowed her to attend college from the age of 14 to learn about construction.

Courtney joined Leeds College of Building’s 14-16 Skills Academy having failed year 10 at school but caught up two years’ worth of work within the year where she obtained a BTEC Level 1 Diploma and a 100% attendance record.

Courtney’s Lecturer Chris Minshull explains: "The 14-16 Skills Academy allows construction programmes to be delivered in partnership with schools and we are currently working with 25 schools in the region. The traditional school environment doesn’t suit every student so our courses, which include practical skills in several trade areas, provide an ideal alternative.

"Courtney especially thrived in this environment working well in the classroom and completing every practical task including plastering, brickwork and painting and decorating to a very good standard. She was awarded ‘Student of the Term’ and consistently delivered because she was engaged with the subjects."

Students like Courtney can spend up to two days a week in College following individual programmes and qualifications that suit their needs and last year Leeds College of Building had an 80% overall success rate for the year 11 students. Chris adds: "Courtney is one of the 70% of students who have progressed onto a more advanced course at the College post 16, which is a very positive endorsement of their experience here at the College."

Courtney, who started her higher education course in September 2013 says: "School didn’t work well for me and my attendance and performance wasn’t great. When I was told about the option of starting college at 14 I jumped at the chance and I haven’t looked back really. I think it was just a case of finding something I was interested in and I really liked the practical aspects of my course so I worked hard.

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