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College collaboration key to continuing careers education improvement

John Yarham, Interim CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company
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#LoveOurColleges – Further Education Colleges provide high quality academic, technical and vocational learning opportunities for more than 2 million learners across England.

The nation’s colleges play a pivotal role delivering a diverse range of skills and qualifications.

That support is even more critical in challenging times we now face, both for adults but also for young people in developing their knowledge and skills to compete.

Further Education Community of Practice Network

To help support the college sector further, The Careers & Enterprise Company is launching a new Further Education Community of Practice which will be an important network to extend and deepen collaboration across the sector with regards to careers guidance.

It will provide a focal point for developing ideas, sharing learning and improving practice and performance. It will enable the rapid transfer of learning into effective execution and provide a network of mutual support to practitioners in the college sector.

Careers Hubs form part of the critical strategic infrastructure

Colleges have always had a strong focus on employability and careers. That’s why Further Education and 6th Form colleges are closely integrated into our careers education network across the country, led by Careers Hubs, which are driving accelerated performance in careers guidance.

171 colleges are actively engaged in Careers Hubs, with 263 colleges and sixth form colleges involved in our overall careers education network. We see strong performance on careers guidance across the college sector, particularly in linking courses and learning to directly to careers and providing students with opportunities to meet employers and experience the world of work.

Colleges are a rich and diverse sector, anchored in the communities they serve and an essential part of the local fabric for supporting the economic recovery from the pandemic and moving into sustained growth.

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Our Careers Hubs form part of the critical strategic infrastructure to enhance that position. Careers Hubs help bring people together. They create a powerful partnership between schools, colleges, employers, LEPs and local authorities, focused on improving skills and opportunity for young people, tailored to local need – nationally led and coordinated, locally developed and delivered.

Preparing our next generation for productive and rewarding lives beyond education 

The role of colleges is even more vital now, with government announcing a series of policy initiatives to boost the role of colleges in supporting training and skills development and helping people develop and diversify their talents for the opportunities that will arise as we emerge from the pandemic.

The particular focus of colleges on technical and vocational skills and pathways is now the centerpiece of the goal of driving parity of esteem with academic learning and redressing the long-term imbalance in how we have prepared our next generation for productive and rewarding lives beyond education.

Lifetime Skills Guarantee

As the Prime Minister said in his recent speech on skills, it is time “to end the pointless, nonsensical gulf that has been fixed for generations – more than 100 years – between the so-called academic and the so-called practical varieties of education.”

To make the most of the talents of our next generation it is vitally important we drive greater equality in and recognition for vocational and technical learning and broaden opportunity and choice for young people.

Our new community of practice is an important step forward in helping us drive continuing improvement in the vital support and guidance we offer the nation’s young people – providing them with a pathway to opportunity and social mobility.    

John Yarham, interim CEO, The Careers & Enterprise Company

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