From education to employment

Building a world class skills system with Taking Teaching Further

Alison Morris, Director of Sector Development, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

Alison Morris, Director of Sector Development at the Education and Training Foundation, outlines how Taking Teaching Further – a Department for Education-funded initiative – will boost the FE and Training Sector long-term through stimulating and developing industry collaboration.

As we know, bringing industry expertise and teaching together is vital for delivery of excellent technical teaching, and the need for such expertise is gathering pace as we prepare for the roll-out of the first T Level qualifications. Yet both recruiting teaching talent fresh from industry, and keeping current staff abreast of new technologies and industrial developments can be challenging.

That’s why the Taking Teaching Further programme is such a timely initiative, providing up to £5 million of funding to support FE and training providers to recruit experienced industry professionals.

Developed by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and the Association of Colleges (AoC), Taking Teaching Further is aimed at all types of FE providers, and funding is available via a competitive process.

Deadline for applications is Noon on 27 July 2018

Taking Teaching Further will focus on priority sectors, including the first T Level routes – childcare and education, digital, and construction – as well as engineering and manufacturing. The programme is delivered by the ETF, building on other sector recruitment programmes, such as SET for Teaching Success, Further Forces, and the Teach Too programme.

While Strand 1 of the TTF programme will focus on recruitment, addressing the shorter-term needs of providers, Strand 2 will provide financial support for 40 innovation projects which stimulate and develop partnerships and collaboration between industry and FE. Find out how to apply to Taking Teaching Further Strand 2 here.

Putting employers at the heart of change

The reform of the skills system, documented in the government’s Post-16 Skills Plan, places employers at the heart of change. Employers must define the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for individuals to be recognised as occupationally competent and ready for skilled employment.  Beyond this, students need opportunities to learn, understand and experience how their skills will be used in practice, so that they gain an understanding of the contemporary workplace and how to operate effectively within it.

Industry professionals are well placed to develop this understanding in learners because they know the latest skills, techniques, approaches and equipment that set the standards of their respective sectors. Recruitment and training of industry professionals is therefore a priority.

Existing teachers also have training needs in order to be dual professionals and keep pace with developments in industry.

This is why Taking Teaching Further is so important.

The long term aims of the programme are to:

  • Raise the profile and prestige of FE teaching, particularly among industry professionals
  • Increase the overall number of skilled FE teachers in the priority technical routes, and ensure an ongoing supply of industry professionals into FE
  • Increase the opportunity for industry-related CPD for current teachers;
  • Build capacity in FE teaching and improve industry collaboration.
  • Demonstrate the value of industry/collaboration.

By supporting innovation projects that build sustainable partnerships between FE and Industry, Strand 2 of Taking Teaching Further takes a longer-term approach to meeting these priorities.

The ETF invites proposals for new, scalable projects from provider or consortiums. Up to 20 projects will be supported in 2018-19, and 20 in 2019-20.

Strand 2 will specifically support projects that could:

  • Facilitate industry secondments into FE
  • Facilitate FE teacher secondments into industry
  • Support collaboration between providers to engage industry

 Facilitating industry secondments into FE

Allowing industry professionals to spend time in the skills system is very valuable, and will help to create a longer lasting recruitment pipeline of industry experts.

As well as traditional secondments into teaching roles, other approaches might include seminars and masterclasses run by employers, and employers mentoring teachers.

Chris Fairclough is an example of how spending time in FE can lead to a new career. He was a Technical Support Engineer at Sellafield Ltd in industry when he tried guest lecturing at a local training provider. This inspired him to become a FE teacher, and with the support of ETF’s SET for Teaching Success programme, he is now a Lecturer in Nuclear Plant at Lakes College and the College for Nuclear in Cumbria.

“I love teaching in FE. I enjoy working with people who have the same objectives – to give the students the best possible learning experience to increase their chance of employment. I am an ambitious person and FE allows you to be ambitious. There is room to grow as a teacher, as a mentor, as a student and as a manager if you so wish.”

Facilitating FE teacher secondments into industry

Enabling teachers to spend time in industry is vital for the development of their occupational expertise, ensuring a clear line of sight to work in their teaching. And, like students, they need access to industry-standard facilities and resources

As well as traditional placements of varying frequency and length, we are looking for innovative approaches, such as teacher engagement with the CPD activities designed for industry professionals.

Supporting collaboration between providers to engage industry

Teaching Taking Further will also fund projects which support local initiatives that boost capacity of FE teaching through collaboration between providers in order to engage industry.  Examples could include sharing effective practice, as well as innovative reciprocal arrangements, such as the loan of state-of-the-art equipment or facilities.

The work at Derby College is a good example of industry collaboration, as all the college’s vocational courses are co-created and co-delivered with employers.  Representatives from over 250 employers work with curriculum staff to jointly shape course content to ensure that the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers value are embedded in FE teaching and learning, so that learners are work-ready.

By working together extensively and effectively, industry and the FE and Training Sector can meet the challenges of the government’s Industrial Strategy, building a world-class skills system which is responsive and relevant, while ensuring teaching and learning is of a consistently high quality.

Alison Morris, Director of Sector Development, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

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