St. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy pupils enjoy job success thanks to AIS Connect

18 May 2017

For school-leavers scooping your first real job is notoriously difficult but youngsters from St Benet Biscop High School in Northumberland are finding it easier than most thanks to a unique partnership with apprenticeship specialist AIS Connect.
St. Benet Biscop and AIS Connect’s school partnership programme aims to help school-leavers make their important first career step into industry by giving youngsters the mindset and skills demanded by employers. Several Benet Biscop students have already secured apprenticeships and full-time jobs with local companies as a result of the programme.
The initiative runs over four weeks and during that time students aged 16-18 are given an introduction to several different work areas including welding, fabrication, engineering and technical support at AIS’s state-of-the-art 20-acre industrial training village in North Shields. As well as invaluable practical experience, the youngsters get an insight into the skills employers are looking for and advice to help them make an informed careers choice.
AIS Connect then matches students with local employers to give them real on-the-job work experience leading to a full-time job or apprenticeship.
Students successfully completing the programme have gone on to secure a full-time job or apprenticeship – including former St. Benet Biscop pupils Callum Sutherland and William Holden. Both Callum and William are now working in the engineering sector as a direct result of the programme.
Assistant head teacher at St. Benet Biscop, Lesley Poulter said: “It’s increasingly difficult for young people to secure their first real job so we make this a key priority for our school leavers. University isn’t for everyone so we ensure we promote all of the options including apprenticeships and more practical routes to employment. AIS Connect has been critical to this strategy and has undoubtedly helped to prepare our pupils for the world of work with many going on to get their first full-time job or apprenticeship thanks to the programme.”
Former St. Benet Biscop pupil, Callum Sutherland secured an apprenticeship with engineering company, Barrington Metals.
Barrington Metals director, Chris Robertson said: “We agreed to take Callum on an initial placement at our company to see if he was the right fit for us and we were the right company for him. Right from the start we were really impressed with Callum. He is keen, well-mannered and fits in. The skills he’s learnt at AIS have prepared him well - he’s definitely got a great understanding of what’s needed.”
Rob Storey, head of education at AIS Connect, said: “The unique partnership we’ve developed with St. Benet Biscop Catholic Academy is proving extremely successful. Studying at school and a full-time job are two very different environments. We work with youngsters on a one-to-one basis to transform them from schoolchildren into productive and eager potential employees any business would be keen to take on. The success of the programme is proof that our approach is working.”
Apprenticeships and other training schemes at AIS Connect start every month with drop-in events for people interested every Thursday. For more information on AIS Connect visit or to visit the facilities please contact (0191) 341 0250 or email