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During 2017 we’ve been working closely with colleagues in Nashville, USA and across the UK as the North East prepares to be the first place outside America to trial elements of a new model of learning, which has already transformed the way young people learn and achieve across more than 30 school districts in the USA.

We visited Nashville in September and hosted a return visit to the North East in November, and have been inspired by the way this approach can really make a difference to young people’s futures – it’s a proven example of international best practice and the fact that we have the opportunity to develop it here in the North East LEP area is hugely exciting.

The Academies Nashville model places employer engagement at the centre of education and, when it was implemented in Nashville, resulted in an almost 23% rise in high school graduation rates as well as improvements in attainment, discipline and attendance.

Pupils learn through project-based learning, completing courses which relate to sectors they’re interested in – from healthcare to hospitality – while close partnerships with employers result in industry placements for both students and teachers.

It’s now time for us to start translating elements of the model for use in the North East so as we enter the New Year, we’re looking for four people to join our project team and help us to make this happen.

We’re already working with three schools – Excelsior Academy, Norham High School and Churchill Community College – who will be the first to trial the approach. These schools will work closely with the North East LEP and our partners at The Edge Foundation, Future Me and businesses across the region.

The first post we’re recruiting for is a Regional ‘Careers in the Curriculum’ Project Lead who will be based here at the North East LEP offices in Newcastle. This person will liaise with employers and teachers across the region, developing opportunities for teacher CPD placements in industry and co-designing project-based learning for pupils. This person will also be responsible for sharing what we learn with the wider region, making sure that as many schools as possible benefit from this project.

We’re also recruiting three Industry Alignment Managers who will be based in each of the three pilot schools. They will work with teaching staff to develop project-based learning approaches in the school, evaluating the impact of the approach and managing relationships with employers.

Each of these four posts will play a key part in this ambitious and exciting project. The project is a core element of the region’s strategic economic plan, where our education challenge. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something which can make a real difference to outcomes for our young people, preparing them with the skills they need to start their careers and helping businesses and schools work more closely together within the curriculum.

We need to find people who are creative thinkers, who can connect a variety of stakeholders with a common aim and who, above all, are enthusiastic and motivated about making a difference for young people in the North East.

Could that be you or someone you know?

The ‘Next Generation Learning’ project is part of the North East LEP’s Education Challenge, which aims to reduce the gap between the region’s best and lowest performing secondary schools and improve social mobility in our young people. The education challenge will support teachers, schools, governors and leaders to integrate careers learning into the curriculum to ensure those entering the workforce in the future have the skill level to support our diverse economy and are fully aware of the progression routes available to make this happen.

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