People & Skills Projects - 04 March 2022

NCW22 Case Study: Colleges collaborate on universal digital skills

During National Careers Week, we’re encouraging businesses to discover the ways they can make a difference to the career aspirations of young people in our area. Our case study series explores recent D2N2 projects and the impacts they’ve had. For more information on D2N2 skills projects, visit the projects page.

All eight colleges operational across D2N2 have collaborated to produce a universal digital skills module, to ensure all their students gain the basic digital skills needed for life and work.

In autumn 2020, the D2N2 LEP and colleges collectively identified that all students need a grounding in digital skills, but some were not gaining it. To fill this provision gap, the colleges agreed to collaborate on a standardised digital module, to include across their curricula.

Working with the education technology company ClassFeeds, the colleges developed a 40-hour online course. An initial diagnostic determines which sections each student needs to complete. The six modules reflect the Essential Digital Skills Framework, each comprising a range of learning aids, including videos and presentations, followed by a test. The system provides a consistent learning experience, while allowing tutors to monitor students’ progress.

The course has been rolled out, and by the end of 2021-22, most 16-18 year-olds at D2N2 colleges will have completed it. The working group is now exploring commercial arrangements to share the course with third parties.

John Beaty, Deputy Principal at Burton and South Derbyshire College said: “As a group of leading FE Colleges we are incredibly proud of the collaborative work we do across the D2N2 area. This project is an excellent example and will ensure learners across the region have access to a unique and insightful course that fully equips them with the digital skills they need and allows them to thrive in employment.

“We are continuing discussions with the D2N2 LEP on other skills shortage areas so we can utilise this collaborative model to positively benefit the D2N2 jobs market and ultimately its economy.”

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