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Students march off to bright futures

SIXTH FORM students are preparing to be put through their paces during a passing-out parade which marks the culmination of 10-weeks intensive training.

Proud parents, families and friends will witness the drill skills of 20 City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form Public Services students, who will be under the watchful eye of Royal Engineers Lance Corporal Stewart Hopgood.

The BTEC Level 3 course aims to prepare teenagers for a possible career in any of the services with units in citizenship, government and politics, human rights, crime and health and fitness, and can be studied alongside more traditional academic subjects.

Among those taking part in the parade will be 17-year-old Tylah Jones, from Newstead, who conquered Mount Snowdon last month and raised over £1,100 for the Wales Air Ambulance service who cared for her grandfather after he suffered horrific injuries in a motorbike crash in June.

She said: “He’d gone out on his usual Sunday ride with a friend to Dolgellau when he collided with a car and ended up flying through the air leaving him with a collapsed lung and a severed right leg.

“If the Air Ambulance paramedics hadn’t got to him within 10 minutes he would have died from his injuries, and they then got him to the Royal Stoke University Hospital within 30 minutes where the critical care team were just brilliant.

“I wanted to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance to say thank you, so I planned a sponsored expedition up Snowdon as part of my Public Services course at the Sixth Form College and my sister Maddison made teddies to sell.

“My mum, granddad and nan will be there on Monday to watch me at the parade and I hope I make them proud as I’ve really enjoyed training for it.”

Now in her second year of the course, Tylah has plans to join the Royal Military Police when she leaves the Sixth Form College.

Public services teacher, Esther Brennan, organiser of the event, said: “The passing out parade is part of the discipline unit of the Public Services course and the students have been training for it over the last 10 weeks with members of the Royal Engineers.

“The aim of the drill isn’t just to give the students a real experience of what they can expect if they go into the services, but also to teach them self-discipline, teamwork, pride in themselves and to give them self-confidence.

“Initially some of them struggled with their coordination and timing, but over the length of the course you can really see them developing as a team and growing in confidence.

“Aside from achieving a BTEC on the course students come away with a lot more than that. The activities challenge them both physically and mentally, giving them leadership, presentation, communication and evaluation skills as they assess their own weaknesses and strengths – skills which are essential for any career they chose.”

Potential students are welcome to come and find out more about the college and enjoy a tour of the campus in Leek Road at a series of Open Events being held on November 25, February 3rd and April 20th between 5pm and 8pm.

For more information about the courses and qualifications on offer at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College call the college direct on 01782 848736 or log on to the website at


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