A Scottish private school has launched two new courses in tourism and STEM to prepare young people for an "uncertain" future. 

Lomond School in Helensburgh has introduced a national certificate in activity tourism and a Higher national certificate in mechanical engineering as part of its International Baccalaureate Careers Programme (IBCP).

The new courses are in addition to the school's original IBCP pathway HNC in Business which has attracted offers for students from universities like Dundee, Stirling, and Strathclyde. 

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Principal Claire Chisholm said: “The future is complex and uncertain, and we must be bold enough to ensure our learning spaces reflect this. The IB is designed to ensure students are ready for their next step in education or in the working world, with each new course offering a mix of classroom learning and practical experience. 

“Learning in the great outdoors is part of the fabric of Lomond School, and there is a strong appetite for STEM education here, so our new courses play to our strengths. They are perfect for preparing our students for sectors with increasing demand.

The Herald: Lilly Boultby and William Harper, students at Lomond School Lilly Boultby and William Harper, students at Lomond School (Image: Colin Mearns)

“We’re continuing to partner with universities and organisations to gain expertise, forge links and increase our options to offer the best career opportunities for our young people. With interest high and a 100 percent pass-rate for our first IB cohort last year, it feels like we’re going in the right direction.”

IBs replace the traditional exam-focused curriculum with "inquiry-based, conceptual learning" and are said to "build character" and encourage students to look "beyond the classroom" to global challenges like AI, climate change and political instability. 

Lomond School launched IB in 2021, giving students the opportunity to study college-level vocational courses or a diploma, coupled with a selection of SQA qualifications, over two years while still at school. 

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Since the introduction of IB at Lomond School, those opting for IB has risen from 50 per cent in the 2021-2022 year to 100 per cent in the upcoming academic year with a 100 per cent pass rate recorded by its first cohort in 2023.

The new mechanical engineering HNC is aimed to address existing demand for technician level skills in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, while the NC in activity tourism aims to equip pupils for a "burgeoning and sustainable" sector experiencing a significant increase in demand across Scotland.

VisitScotland’s regional director, David Adams McGilp, said: “Tourism offers a variety of exciting career opportunities. It is one of Scotland’s most important industries and a key source of employment in communities right across the country.

“From water sports and walking, to cycling and adventure experiences, Scotland’s activity sector is a huge draw for visitors, benefitting their health and wellbeing, and we welcome the opportunity for pupils to understand this important part of the tourism industry.”