A review of further education (FE) focusing on the needs of schools, colleges and sixth forms and businesses in the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire area covered by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership was published today (August 3).
Designed to ensure that colleges are financially stable long-term, run efficiently and meet the needs of students and the demands of employers, reviews of further education provision have been underway across a number of UK areas; including Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
As part of D2N2’s partnership with skills and training providers, higher and further education establishments, local authorities and businesses to strengthen its area’s economy, the LEP works closely with its area schools, colleges and employers; and was part of a group of area organisations which worked to co-ordinate Government efforts for the Review process.
Feedback in the report from D2N2, local authority and business representatives identified the following:
- Employers see local colleges as highly responsive but also “difficult to penetrate”, with the quality of service impacted by staff changes.
- Schools generally consider the offer from colleges to be good, especially in and around urban areas, but that more rural and isolated areas identify travel as a limiting factor.
- Greater collaboration between further education providers, higher education institutions and employers to develop higher level apprenticeships would be welcomed by businesses.
- Local authorities want the offer for students with special educational needs and disabilities to provide improved opportunities for employment and independence
- There is a need to develop pathways which focus on improving young people’s English and maths skills, employability skills, work experience and support programmes.
D2N2 is working with partners to address issues raised in this latest Area Review report – a copy of which is available online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/derby-derbyshire-nottingham-and-nottinghamshire-fe-area-review – and build stronger links between schools and employers in its area, in a range of ways.
The D2N2 Employability Framework, launched in early 2016 and jointly supported with the Government-backed Careers & Enterprise Company, looks at ways that the employability skills being taught to young people leaving schools and post-16 can be matched with those needed by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire employers. Enterprise Co-ordinators employed across its area engage with schools and link them with business people who act as volunteer Enterprise Advisors, working with schools to develop plans to better engage with employers.
The ambition by the end of 2018 is for every secondary school and college in the D2N2 area – and at least 20% of specialist schools – to have:
- a designated employer linked to their organisation;
- an Enterprise, Careers and Employability Strategy;
- access to providers delivering enterprise, careers and employability activities;
- access to a range of funding to support their school strategies.
David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 LEP, said: “I welcome the publication of this report by the Department of Education. In addressing the skills needs of the D2N2 area, feedback from businesses and education providers is a vital insight and one which the D2N2 LEP uses to inform its own strategies and efforts.
“We are already working to address the needs of our area’s businesses and colleges on the points identified in Government’s report. We’ll continue to be alert to the needs of skills and training providers and employers; to deliver accurate, relevant and effective results.”
For more information on the D2N2 area review, see the document at www.gov.uk/government/publications/derby-derbyshire-nottingham-and-nottinghamshire-fe-area-review
To find out more about the D2N2 Enterprise Adviser network see www.d2n2lep.org/skills/d2n2-enterprise-adviser-network and to view a copy of the D2N2 Employability Framework, see link www.d2n2lep.org/Skills/Employability-Framework
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