By Bev Jones and Mark Silverman, Joint CEOs, Career Colleges Trust

Reading some aspects of the long-awaited FE White Paper held a certain sense of déjà vu for both ourselves and our colleagues. This is not to say we are disappointed with the Government’s updated policy position – just slightly frustrated that it has taken so long to get to this point.

In 2014 Lord Baker launched a new educational concept for the UK, named Career Colleges. This ground-breaking model gave employers a key role in designing and delivering the curriculum of each institution, ensuring that young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge that businesses want and need.

Career Colleges were set up within existing FE colleges, specialising in industries that had an urgent need for skills locally. This ensured that real jobs were available for the young people who were training for them and local employers were involved from the outset, determining the future talent and skills they would need. Sounds familiar?

Our first two Career Colleges - the former Bromley College (now London South East Colleges) and Hugh Baird College in Liverpool - focused on the hospitality sector. This was a rapidly growing sector in both areas at the time, offering huge employment opportunities and facing a very real skills gap. Employers were keen to come on board and students from the age of 14 benefitted hugely from a hands-on, employer led approach – leading to fantastic career opportunities in an exciting industry.

Further FE colleges around the country joined these early adopters, gaining approval to open a Career College or even two in a range of sectors. Eight years on, we now have a national network of 22 Career Colleges with a further seven planned for next year and another five in development; the focus having moved from hospitality to logistics, digital and green technology in line with our changing economy and indeed, our changing world.

From the outset, we were clear that a pioneering educational model involving employers as the centrepiece had to remain flexible. Employer requirements change quickly and the Career College concept had to reflect this. We have industry-led Career Colleges as well as FE-led ones – run in different ways, but all with the overriding principle of preparing young people for great careers, supported by employers.

As the Government stressed in its White Paper, ‘employers must be put at the heart of post-16 skills’. It also went to lengths to make the point that there are many routes to success, stating that it wanted to ‘put an end to the illusion that a degree is the only route to success and a good job and that further and technical education is the second-class option".

All of us working in FE have of course known this to be the case for many years – but it is encouraging to see this position being taken by the DfE. The whole ‘Skills for Jobs’ concept and focus on employability is arguably an obvious one, which recognises the need for change if we are to successfully rebuild the economy post Covid and post Brexit.

It is not possible to plough on with the same educational system we have had in place for the last six decades if we are serious about meeting the skills needs of our changing world. Such change is never easy, but the success we have seen with our own Career College model demonstrates that this is indeed the right direction for our national post-16 delivery.

The development of T Levels has been positive, although the timing has been difficult with an unprecedented pandemic and struggling economy. With our experience of employer-led education, members of our Career Colleges team have sat on several of the skills advisory groups for T Level development. We fully support the continued roll out of these new, relevant and economy-focused qualifications, but work is now needed to ensure they gain the credibility needed among both employers and parents.

And yes, we must face the big current question about the worrying lack of jobs, given the impact of the Covid-19. How can Government implement a jobs-focused education strategy when unemployment rates are high and growing?

Our response is that this is in fact even more of a reason to put employers into the driving seat. Employment in many sectors is increasing – with new sectors expanding rapidly. We need to not only ensure young people know about these options, but that they have the entrepreneurial, digital and communication skills to make the most of these opportunities. These ‘additional’ skills are very much prioritised in Career Colleges and have never been so important as they are in today’s challenging employment landscape.

UCL carried out an extensive piece of research into the Career Colleges model last year, commissioned by the Edge Foundation, "Evaluation of Career Colleges - Final Report". Its key finding was that our approach in building sustained employer engagement might provide a fruitful avenue for others to learn from.

This is exactly what we want to happen. The Skills for Jobs White Paper is fantastic recognition of the work our Career Colleges have done and indeed continue to do.

The FE sector and employers must now get behind the policy and come together to get this important job done.

By Bev Jones and Mark Silverman, Joint CEOs, Career Colleges Trust

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Peter has published a new article: EDHEC and EURECOM Sign Strategic Alliance 56 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 20 hours 1 minute ago

Women Empowerment: How Far Have We Come in Recent Years?: Here in the UK, the past year has been difficult for ever… https://t.co/TTsstqnyOy
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page