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NCFE and colleges: working together to support learners into employment

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This month, NCFE has been supporting National Colleges Week 2012, raising awareness of the vital role colleges play in improving young people’s work-readiness.  We’ve also been exhibiting at the Association of Colleges Annual Exhibition and Conference, where employability formed a core area of interest for many of the college staff that we spoke to.

According to recent independent research commissioned by the Association of Colleges,employers view 17-18 year old college leavers as better prepared for work than school leavers of the same age (74% compared to 66%). What’s more, over 70% of parents think education should be more focused on preparing young people for employment.

NCFE is committed to working with schools and colleges to ensure that young people leaving education are equipped with the skills and mindset they need to take their first step on the career ladder.

It’s encouraging to see that there’s been a recent fall in unemployment of 49,000 solely due to a decline in youth unemployment. However, with competition for jobs still fierce, we believe thatthorough preparation can help young people to stand out from the crowd and make the most of opportunities that come their way. Through employability education, job seekers can learn how to identify vacancies, promote themselves, present themselves at interview and maximise their chances of success.  That’s why NCFE offers a wide range of employability related qualifications, which prepare learners for the demanding task of job seeking which for many, can become a job in itself!

NCFE has also formed an innovative collaboration with recruitment specialists REED in Partnership to offer a flexible solution for colleges looking to support learners into work and enhance their organisation’s employability reputation in the local community. The REED NCFE Partnership provides a suite of qualifications in Job Search and Interview Skills together with a bespoke programme of student and employer engagement, employment consultation, job brokerage, careers advice and work experience.

As the Government continues to promote the value of a solid academic grounding with the proposed E-Bacc, it’s important to remember the worth of quality, rigorous vocational training which can work hand in hand with traditional subjects.

Michael Gove has said that tough exams and learning by rote is the key to success and I do agree with his focus on challenging learners to motivate greater achievement. However, employer engagement within education is also integral when it comes to learners entering the workplace. Success for colleges is no longer just about achievement of qualifications but is also measured against job outcomes. It’s about preparing learners for their life beyond college and ensuring they leave college as well-rounded and resilient individuals, able to fulfil their full potential.

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the training provider

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