Students have tested out Bradford’s first Industrial Centre of Excellence, which opens at Shipley College in September.

Sixteen college students and six school pupils took part in a pilot of the scheme, which involves doing paid work experience two days a week alongside earning a qualification.

The Industrial Centre of Excellence (ICE) for Business is the work of Shipley College, Titus Salt School, Bradford Council and local businesses.

It is the first of its kind in the region and will focus on business service and finance skills for 16 to 18 year olds.

Haseena Khan, 17, who is about to start her second year of a Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in Business, was keen to join the pilot.

“At first I was nervous about my abilities, but my confidence soon received a boost,” she said.

“I enjoyed the mix of having classes at college in accounting and business administration and my role with Bradford Council working on the Step Up Market challenge, which aims to teach young people business and marketing skills.

“I’m still not sure about whether I will go straight into the workplace or to university, but I am really grateful for the opportunity to gain so much invaluable experience which, crucially, looks great on my CV.”

Shipley College principal Nav Chohan said: “The impact on the learners involved in the pilot can be measured by a marked difference in confidence and attitude.

“Anecdotal evidence from students and employers proves that the ICE does what it’s designed for, better preparing young people for the future jobs market through direct business involvement in curriculum design, work experience and careers support, ensuring that the learning provision is relevant for business needs. I would like to thank all the companies involved that are changing lives.”

By September 2015 it is hoped 200 learners will be studying at the centre, which is currently under refurbishment at Victoria Hall in Saltaire. Around 90 are enrolled for September.

Incommunities and Yorkshire Water took part in the pilot.

James Kaleda, a talent advisor from the water company, said: “I think the Centre of Excellence for Business is a fantastic idea and all the hands-on experience that is offered is so relevant to prepare students for the world of work.

“Furthermore, industry is able to go directly to them at the Centre of Excellence to teach them the skills needed to increase their employability."