Excelsior Academy scheme gives former pupils the chance to learn new career

A year-long apprenticeship scheme run by Excelsior Academy in Newcastle is giving former pupils the chance to learn a new career

Tristan Fiddes, Scott Clark and Ross Owens
Tristan Fiddes, Scott Clark and Ross Owens

A trio of school leavers heading out into the world of work are being given the chance to begin their careers in familiar surroundings – at their old school.

A year-long apprenticeship scheme run by Excelsior Academy in Newcastle is giving former pupils the chance to learn a new career.

Ross Owens, 17, Scott Clark, 18 and 20-year-old Tristan Fiddes are all studying apprenticeships and working in catering, business administration and sport respectively.

Apprentice chef Owens, from Cruddas Park, who is working in Excelsior’s award-winning kitchens, said: “I used to be in the sixth form here and I thought they were joking when they said this apprenticeship had come up here,” he said.

“I’m learning a lot, different cooking methods - I didn’t know how to boil an egg but now I can do about 50 at the same time.

“I can’t get used to pupils who I know calling me ‘sir’ but it’s a great opportunity for me to get into an industry I want to be in.”

The apprentices are given every opportunity to access supporting courses and qualifications during their training at the 1,300 pupil school. Excelsior is looking to extend the scheme next year. Academy sponsor Lord Laidlaw supports the programme and funds the apprentices’ salaries.

Peter Snowdon, Excelsior business manager, said: “We decided to offer apprenticeships because we wanted to help young people into employment and continue to support them after they had left us as pupils.’’

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