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The City and Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers Synopses 2023/24

Telford College

Telford College’s range of Employer Hubs build on an already close working relationships with local and national businesses – giving employers a greater chance to help shape the curriculum in a way which meets industry skills shortages, delivering tomorrow’s talent today. The Hubs support employers to drive change, innovation and investment, and make a major contribution to the economic success of the region – in line with key economic and training priorities identified by organisations such as the CBI, FSB, LEP, and Chambers of Commerce. The Employer Hubs have enabled the College to work closely with employers to build capacity in preparation for T-Level qualification, enabling all Digital and Health T level students to have a single planned placement in a pathway specific environment, something that has historically been difficult for FE Colleges to provide IPs in. Through the college’s Health Hub, 11 unique NHS settings have introduced placements in their hospitals to encourage and support young people into employment. The college is also helping to tackle significant skills shortages in the health and social care sector by harnessing the power of immersive and technology-led learning. It has built a new health training academy working in partnership with Local NHS Trusts campus, it has also developed its own bespoke range of VR and AR simulation software – and is taking hi-tech simulated training on the road with a mobile training unit, crammed with the latest technology. Via our Engineering Hub, our Sector Based Work Academy programme addresses the national shortage of HGV drivers.

Capital City College Group

CCCG launched an innovative project to establish high-quality, industry-led, responsive training to Londoners, with particular focus on under-represented groups within the Digital and Creative industries. The primary objective of the project was to offer customised training to meet the specific requirements of employers while establishing accessible pathways into these industries. This was achieved through a collaborative effort with community organisations to ensure that the programmes were sympathetic to the needs of targeted learners. CCCG established meaningful relationships with a wide range of external stakeholders, spanning tech industry leaders to local associations, with special attention given to adults who have encountered systemic obstacles in their pursuit of quality employment opportunities. Sectoral Advisory Boards provided a platform for exchange, enabling CCCG to identify the intersection between industry skills gaps and talent acquisition, empowering the targeted learners to connect with employers. Through expert industry trainers, internships and placements and live projects, learners have been exposed to current industry practices, gained valuable experience of working practices and broadened their network. This has deepened their understanding of the industry and the prerequisites for their potential careers. It has given them the confidence to take the next step to advanced training or securing meaningful work.

New College Durham

The North East faces significant challenges: - unemployment 1.3% higher than national average - highest unemployment rate in UK - second highest claimant rate nationally - economically inactive contribute 3.5% higher than national average - students with no qualifications 1.9% higher than UK counterparts - students with NVQ L4 1.1% lower than national average. The college recognizes its crucial role in facilitating positive change, committing to contributing significantly to the region's skill requirements by implementing a strategic plan focused on stakeholder engagement and collaboration to create a curriculum that meets skill needs and maximizes opportunities. We believe working with other organizations rather than independently will yield greater results. By forging partnerships with national and regional businesses, other educational institutions, and regional bodies, we aim to benefit students, employers, and the economy. Identifying and addressing both current and future skill needs, supporting employers in finding skilled staff, upskilling existing employees, and positively impact regional economic development. The college stands out in its commitment to a skills-focused curriculum. Our five-year strategic plan includes an External Stakeholder Strategy and skills delivery plan, ensuring strong emphasis on building a skilled workforce. Each strategic aim is supported by a clear implementation plan, with already significant evidence to show positive impact.

South Eastern Regional College

In March 2021, SERC completed an engineering business needs assessment through a series of engagements with employers, which flagged shortfalls in workforce, skills and gender diversity in the industry. In response, SERC secured funding from the Community Foundation Ireland All Island Fund to undertake a large-scale online engagement to gather views from women and girls about engineering and barriers to the profession. The engagement work was successful, with statistically significant responses and identified the following common trends: 1) Lack of encouragement from school and parents, 2) Lack of female role models, and 3) Negative treatment descriptions in the engineering workplace. In response to the engagement work findings, SERC implemented the following programmes to support bridging the workforce gaps that employers had described as a priority: 1) Women in Engineering Leadership and Mentoring Course to create strong female role models in the local engineering workforce, 2) You Can Engineer It – Funded by the IET, Family workshops on Saturdays aimed at young girls aged 4-14 to promote engineering to girls and their families, and 3). Primary school work to promote engineering to children - funded by the All-Island Fund, SERC students will design pre-prepared lesson packs and practical exercises.

East Kent Colleges Group (EKC Group)

This project is our embedded culture of Employer Engagement that has been developed and refined over a period of four years, including two mergers and acquisitions. It demonstrates a scalable, sustainable and impactful model of employer engagement that has also been ahead of the national policy curve.  We believe we are unique in having such a deep-rooted culture of ownership of Employer Engagement that devolves accountability and responsibility for local education and meeting skills needs from the main Board down to Local College Board level and local leadership. The fact that it is so well established and transferable means that other colleges will be able to learn from and apply it to their own institutions.

College of West Anglia

The School of Nursing Studies is a creative project aimed at immersing professional skills, resources and opportunities into the local community. Since the outsourcing of training facilities in the past decades, diverse populations of the sub-regional economy have had limited avenues for development. With an ageing population, emerging health challenges and a strong desire among local people to progress into health and social care roles, the need for outstanding educational facilities has never been stronger. Our commitment is to create enduring partnerships to help local people achieve their ambitions by nurturing their potential, providing a nationally recognised centre of educational excellence for future generations. From a modest investment, our project has given access to people of all abilities and backgrounds into training, education and work. The School has provided innovative support, resources and expertise for a wealth of new and existing courses, employment opportunities and related projects. With plans for Phase 2 expansion, we will position ourselves, along with our educational and employment partners and learners, to take on the challenges of the NHS Workforce Plan 2023 to propel people to their desired career, support our health economy and create an enduring legacy of excellent care for our community.

Salford City College Group (SCC Group)

​​Industry Partners; ensuring high quality, innovative and strategic employer engagement is interwoven into the fabric of the College Group. The Industry Partners concept positions the College as a strategic talent partner across the sectors which we deliver provision in, all aligned to the economic areas of growth within Greater Manchester. The initiative has transitioned relationships with employers from one of asking for favours to help learners, to one where relationships with employers are underpinned by the College being seen as a long-term provider of high-quality talent. Employers enhance, inform and co-create curriculum, resulting in increased opportunities and progression for learners, better prepared than ever before to transition into the world of work. Industry partners take great pride in supporting the continued development of our staff through industry CPD days, they steer and shape our curriculum through frequent employer curriculum boards. Industry partners tackles skills shortages, under-representation and inclusivity by creating skills solutions that are right for industry and right for all individuals. ​

Warrington & Vale Royal College

The College Business Centre is an initiative that aims to nurture strong, meaningful and mutually beneficial stakeholder partnerships in order to identify and respond to local skills needs. The College Business Centre facilitates collaboration and champions the role of employer input into curriculum, helping to foster a holistic culture across college where sector influence is at the heart of what the college teaches and how it is taught. The Business Centre is divided into sub-departments that align to the specialist academies within the college: the Health & Social Care Academy; the Advanced Creative & Digital Skills Academy; the Institute of Technology; the Construction & Civil Engineering Academy; the Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Academy; Business, Professional & Leisure Services and Adult Basic Skills. The College Business Centre utilises sector stakeholder feedback to shape the curriculum and training on offer, the curriculum intent and design and the facilities and resources that the college invests in. These partnerships enable the college and employers to work together to drive skills development with both the existing workforce as well as the future pipeline of talent and find solutions to skills-related challenges.

Redcar and Cleveland College (Education Training Collective)

The Clean Energy Education Hub (CEEH) has been created in direct response to the rapidly growing low carbon energy sector in the area and nationally. By working with the local authority and forging links with leading employers, the college has created a specialist training provision, shaped by industry experts, and built to meet employers’ real needs. By offering training for school leavers and adult learners, as well as bespoke employer led programmes, higher education and commercial courses in green and renewable energy training, the college is equipped to create a talent pool ready to meet the current and future demands of the region and beyond. The hub, funded primarily by the Town Deal Fund, has been co-created through pioneering employer partnerships and industry giants such as bp, Northern Gas Networks and GE Renewable Energy, who all now have direct links to the college. The CEEH is home to some of the latest state of the art equipment, with sponsorship of workshops from the likes of bp, Parker and Sembcorp. It incorporates what is believed to be a UK first with an all-new carbon capture training rig, designed and built to inspire the next generation of Net Zero engineers by replicating the demands of the work environment. All of this has been delivered as the area has secured key investments in a number of renewable energy and low carbon projects, attracting major inward investment along with UK Government support for Net Zero Teesside, the largest carbon capture and storage project in the country. Equipped to meet their training demands, the Clean Energy Education Hub sits at the very heart of all that.

The Sheffield College

The College's 'Employer Skills Academies' programme, launched in 2019, was the first of its kind in the UK. This innovative initiative involves 17 academy employers collaborating with The College to co-design and co-deliver an academic programme. The goal of the programme is to enhance the employability skills of tomorrow's workforce, with a focus on ensuring that employers play a central role in driving a skills-led recovery. In total, more than 1,150 students across all 22 academies can learn from industry experts, inspirational employer speakers, employer mentors, and business leaders from the region. These partnerships have positioned The College as a pioneer in its sector, achieving two national firsts – including the first collaboration between a British Chamber of Commerce and a further education college for 'The Chamber of Commerce Business and Enterprise Academy'. Their Academy provides students with connections to over 1,000 businesses in the region, offering valuable real-life examples of successful businesspeople. The academy is open to all students in the college, regardless of their chosen industry. Since the launch of the Chamber Academy in 2019, 2,930 students have participated in its business programmes and activities, including guidance on starting a business and enterprise support.

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