A new pioneering Level 1 curriculum at the College of FE is helping young people to progress into skilled employment and further education.
The College of Further Education is in the third year of a research project led by industry expert Professor Liz Atkins and supported by Rothschild & Co.
It was established to develop an evidence-based, enriched Level 1 curriculum at the college for lower-attaining young people, supporting them to make successful transitions to work and further education.
Discussions have already taken place between Professor Atkins, a Professor of Vocational Education and Social Justice at the University of Derby, and leading UK bodies, in the hope that the Guernsey model will be a template for similar reforms across the country.
"We weren’t doing the right thing by the students who came to us who didn’t have a swathe of qualifications," said College of FE Principal Louise Misselke.
Pictured: Louise Misselke said the college had identified the need to improve the Level 1 curriculum, something which institutions across the UK are looking to do.
"For a whole lot of reasons, the curriculum and offer we were giving them wasn’t allowing them to progress through their careers or through further education as well as they could."
Ms Misselke was full of praise for Professor Atkins, who she has recently published research with.
"She has been helping us to discover what is the right curriculum that is going to support our students’ career aspirations and their lives in the long term," she said.
Sue Lambeth from the College's Level 1 Department said the near one year-course, 'Progress to...', covers a range of practical and classroom-based study.
"We have changed the curriculum completely," she said. "Some are now studying at Level 3, some have gone on to do apprenticeships and some have gone into more skilled employment.
"We are hoping to challenge them to have better personal skills, build their confidence and increase their cultural capital."
This is great, it’s important to constantly seek opportunities to collaborate /discuss/co-construct research practice with both FE & HE colleagues. My perspective this only supports constant improvement and development of wider practice. https://t.co/cYVIYrkm7F— louise misselke #FE (@louisemisselke) January 14, 2020
Pictured: David Corke from the Association of Colleges was keen to arrange a discussion with the college about the reforms.
Professor Atkins said the project had already reduced the number of NEET pupils (students who are not in Education, Employment or Training).
"There is a trend [at level 1] where those who do move into employment, do so into lower skilled employment," she said.
"However, some are now doing level 3 programmes at the college with the possibility of progressing to university or employment at a higher level.
"The project has made a really significant difference and I am really pleases with howe it has gone."
The local project could have wider implications, according to Professor Atkins, who is already in discussions back in the UK.
"The Department for Education in England is conducting a review of Level 2 provision and below, and the Association of Colleges have concerns about Level 1 provision and are looking to support interventions on that," she said.
The new course includes literacy, numeracy, and a number of work-based options offered in conjunction with employers to help develop employability skills.
The project has been supported locally by Rothschild & Co.
“We’re in the third year of a ground-breaking partnership with the College of Further Education and we’re delighted with progress to date," said Linda Boucher-Harris, Head of Community Investment at Rothschild & Co in Guernsey.
"The project helps provide young people with the skills they need for the world of work.
"What is particularly exciting about the project are the potential wider implications. Indeed what’s being done in Guernsey could become a catalyst for major reform and a model for the UK in its training provision in this area. It’s truly humbling to be part of a project that could have such far-reaching consequences.”
Pictured top: Sue Lambeth, Victoria Green and Linda Boucher-Harris from Rothschild & Co, Professor Liz Atkins and Louise Misselke.
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