A new online resource has been launched to help school students make choices about further education and training in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis.

Cumbria Activate Your Future is a joint programme, established by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership's employment and skills strategy group and sponsored by education and business partnership Hello Future.

The LEP has worked with Cumbrian schools, colleges and training providers and advice agencies to launch the online portal, where students can register to access careers guidance and a collection of online resources in a range of technical skills areas.

It offers information on how to access training and education in areas including business, construction, engineering, hair and beauty, the arts, catering, health and social care, early years and information technology.

The self-study packages are free of charge and schools can register students to access Cumbria Activate Your Future from tomorrow.

The learning resources are provided by Carlisle College, Furness College, Kendal College and Lakes College as well as from the Blended Learning Consortium.

The project is sponsored by Hello Future and supported by Cumbria Careers Hub and Inspira.

Mike Smith OBE, LEP board member and chair of its people, employment and skills strategy group, said: “As young people across Cumbria prepare for the next step in their learning journey it’s essential that we work to encourage and support them in these very challenging times.”

More information is available at www.cumbriaconnectandlearn.co.uk

Grant Glendinning, principal at Carlisle College, said: "We've teamed up to bring inspiration and learning for Cumbrian school leavers aiming to achieve their ambitions through technical education. Carlisle College was delighted to coordinate this project, which has seen partners from across the county come together to deliver a very important resource".

Judith Schafer, executive headteacher Solways and Beacon Hill Community Schools and chair of Cumbria Association of Secondary Headteachers, said: "Year 11 students who have had their schooling cut short deserve to be supported over this difficult time, and this collaborative project does exactly that - making sure they are engaged in their futures and have their destinations sorted out.

“It's been excellent to work with FE colleagues and I am confident this is something we will be able to use again year after year for our students."

Michael Sidall, area manager at Hello Future, said: “As a partnership who work to support access to Higher Education, we recognise the transition from school to Further Education as a key step in a young person’s learning journey; this platform provides invaluable support for that transition and beyond.”