OTLA Phase 3

Below is a short summary of each of the 8 selected projects for the third phase of Outstanding, Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) National Technical Skills Programme. The projects started in March 2018 and are due to complete in February 2019. Resources and case studies of these projects will be available to the sector in March 2019.

Activate Learning 
Shaping teaching, learning and assessment to meet current industry standards
The project has three key strands; industry immersion for all staff to ensure they keep up to date with the latest industry practice, implementation of employer-led projects across the curriculum and the development of learner preparation for external assessment. The project aims to develop an engaging curriculum which has positive outcomes for learners by sharing ideas across other colleges. 
Technical routes: Business and Administrative 

City College Plymouth
Employer Apprenticeship Mentor and Advisor Programme 
The project is designed to prepare smaller businesses in the professional services sector, who are investing in apprenticeships, to ensure that the apprentice is supported and mentored in the workplace. The project will also work with key employer staff to ensure they have the required skills to aid successful apprenticeship delivery. 
Technical routes: Business and Administrative & Legal, Finance and Accounting

CONEL College
Testing the reliability of a collaborative model for industry and curriculum
The project has two strands. Firstly, to re-engage Master Technicians (Digital technical route) with curriculum teams to plan for the 2018/19 academic year. To further embed industry skills and knowledge development into assignments, schemes of work and resources.
Secondly, to apply the Model for Collaboration to the key technical routes of Construction and Engineering, by engaging employers (Master Technicians) to deliver specialist training to teachers and learners. The Master Technicians will be supported with pedagogic training via face-to-face and online support. This training is designed to support session planning and delivery to learners.
Technical routes: Construction; Digital; and Engineering and Manufacturing

Derby College
Problem-Based Learning: Further exploration of this pedagogical approach in curriculum design and delivery
Following a successful OTLA project, we are deepening an understanding of a problem-based learning (PBL) approach to learning beyond the qualification and developing a critical evidence-base for the benefits and limitations of this pedagogical approach. We are enhancing the JPD element of the project, working with new partners, in new subject-disciplines, with different teachers and different employers.  Derby College will design a Level 3 Professional Construction curriculum and produce a guide to curriculum design with PBL at its core. It will trial PBL in different technical routes to test its transferability across technical education and it in Functional skills Mathematics.
Technical routes: Creative and Design; Engineering and Manufacturing; and Health and Science, as well as Maths

Gateshead College
Games & XR Incubator Studio
Gateshead College aim to create an incubation studio as a transitional stage for students progressing into the creative Tech industry. The project will explore a meaningful alternative to the challenges of finding work experience for the under 18s in digital design studios.
Students will take on commission work for external clients developing creative, digital, employability and soft skills. The incubation studio will operate within Gateshead College. It will partially focus on supporting students with specific educational needs who find the leap to higher education difficult. The project will explore the feasibility of the studio with an aim to deliver it in 2019.
Technical routes: Business and Administrative; Digital; Legal, Finance and Accounting and Sales, Marketing and Procurement

Harlow College
Assessing Learning in T Level Work Placements
Working across two sectors - engineering and health - and with six colleges, this project will identify outstanding teaching learning and assessment practice in relation to extended work placements for T Levels. The project will identify best practice is terms of preparing students for their extended work placement, it will create placement activities that develop the technical skills of the students whilst on placement and create an assessment tool for teachers and employers to use to assess student progress in developing those skills.
Technical routes: Social Care; and Engineering and Manufacturing

Lakes College
Experiential Learning (EL): Further exploration of this pedagogical approach in curriculum design and delivery
The project extension is a natural development in the launch and growth of the National College for Nuclear and its developing pedagogy, as it moves in to the delivery phase and the approval of delivery partners.
Working with Derby College and a selection of their partners, will enable the Experiential Learning pedagogy to be extended beyond NCfN and enhanced by evaluation and feedback from practitioners beyond Nuclear based curriculum.
The ultimate aim is to deepen the EL approach in Nuclear and STEM, enhancing a model for putting EL at the heart of higher level technical TLA and Higher Apprenticeship delivery.


  1. A refined, online, transferable model tested in several contexts.
  2. 3 further quality assured Objects of Learning
  3. A guide to EL CPD delivery and supporting material
  4. A research poster and pamphlet production with Think-pieces to inform the sector and policy in relation to education in the sector including a specific Think Piece on developing excellent engineers through PBL and EL (similarities, differences, lessons learned and best practice) in collaboration with Derby College

Technical routes: Construction; and Engineering and Manufacturing

London South East College
Professional Excellence in Hospitality – Powerful Learning Conversations
The aim of our project is to further develop a sustainable and innovative industry-led technical learning model that focuses on the development of world-class skills in the hospitality, travel and tourism, hair and beauty industries. Through more deep and meaningful engagement with employers, our intention is to enhance students’ learning experience in the workplace. Powerful learning conversations is a new key element of our 360°learning model. We will identify the key factors that led to the successful development of self-reflection and metacognitive skills of all involved in our original project and embed it in two additional curriculum areas.
Technical routes: Catering and Hospitality; and Hair and Beauty

Myerscough College
Using Virtual Reality to enhance Land Based Skills
In preparation for the T-levels and the changes in education in relation to work experience and employer engagement, we are focusing on using Virtual Reality technology to enhance student practical skills in preparation for employment via their work experience settings. Through scenario based learning packages and application of learning in real life industry settings which are developing with both educational and industry leaders.
We're focusing on the Equine, Agriculture and Sportsturf Industries, strengthening employer and educational partnerships, existing and new, through employer engagement and input to address perceived skills gaps by the industries using Virtual Reality.
Technical routes: Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care

Reaseheath college
Lean Management
Partnering with Stockport and Trafford College, Nelson and Colne Colleges and Cheshire Colleges South and West to further develop the staff CPD to be applicable across all technical routes, providing practitioners with the platform of knowledge from which they could embed lean management tools and principles across several curriculums.
The project will focus on the following areas:

  • Engaging with employers in the development of a revised curriculum, which places vocational technical learning at the centre
  • Significantly increasing the practical element of learning
  • Supporting students and employers to understand the value chain and apply it in their work and learning, maximising efficiency and eliminating waste
  • Using live data and increased employer involvement to make learning more imaginative, aspirational and fulfilling for students

Technical routes: Construction; Digital; and Engineering and Manufacturing

South Devon College 
Beyond the Knowledge 

Beyond the Knowledge is a project designed to develop curriculum, resources and teaching, learning and assessment models that will help to develop individual’s professional behaviors, attitudes, and approaches required for competency within the accounting sector.

Research conducted with employers has identified that new recruits need to develop a range of employability and transferable skills to effectively contribute towards the culture and ethos of the sector. These skills include;

•    An ability to communicate both in writing and orally at all levels,
•    Strong interpersonal skills and cultural awareness when dealing with internal and external customers
•    Dealing with conflict and influencing skills
•    Flexibility to maintain high standards in a changing environment
•    Proactively take responsibility for completing tasks and meeting expectations 
•    The ability to prioritise in order to achieve timely outcomes

The project will enhance the accounting curriculum to develop these skills, building upon the core theoretical knowledge gained through the professional accounting qualification. By building these skills into the curriculum, we will develop a more holistic teaching, learning and assessment model that directly addresses the needs of employers. 

Technical routes: Legal, Finance and Accounting