Industrial Centres of Excellence planned for Bradford

First published in Bradford

A series of Industrial Centres of Excellence are to be set up in the Bradford district to encourage the burgeoning number of students opting for science and maths at A-level.

The centres will work with businesses to ensure students take up A-levels in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bradford Council is working with a range of partners, including educational institutions and businesses, to create five Industrial Centres of Excellence.

The move coincides with a rise in the number of students taking up science and maths at further education in the district, along with improving results.

The numbers opting for science and maths subjects at A-level in Bradford rose from fewer than 800 in 2011 to 873 in 2012.

Cindy Peek, the Council’s deputy director of children’s services, said: “Results have also improved in all these subjects in the highest grades, with a doubling in A* grades in biology and significant rises in chemistry at A* and B, and maths at grade A.

“These achievements enable our young people to access the workplace and the best universities in the country to take science courses.” Mrs Peek said the Industrial Centres of Excellence would focus students’ learning on skills and areas which have been identified as important for the region’s economic regeneration.

She said: “Industrial Centres of Excellence will be an innovative way in which students can gain skills and qualifications that will give them pathways into industry and further training.

“Fundamental to this approach is how business works with education partners to ensure that the A-levels students take in subjects such as the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics have a practical application so they can be used vocationally in industry.”

Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said the centres would direct students towards the industries and skills the district would benefit from.

He said: “The future needs of the economy are to upskill and get people moving towards the employment and business opportunities that there are going to be in the future.

“This is a very serious, multi-agency, hard-nosed partnership to get Bradford the skills, the people and the infrastructure to drive up the productive economy to get manufacturing and skills moving ahead.”

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