From education to employment

Using data to support the learner journey

Gavin O'Meara, Chief Executive and Head of Digital Media, FE News

What do you think of the changes Ofsted have brought in with the new inspection framework?

I think that the changes, which Ofsted have brought in are really, really interesting, particularly with where we go from frameworks to standards.

We’ve got the free ‘I’s that Ofsted are mentioning, which is Intent, Implementation and Impact.

I think what’s really interesting is the underpinning of all of that is going to be the intent: Where we can move to with learners, and what that’s actually going to mean about their learner journey.

Curriculum design has always been there, and it’s been part of the FE system from the very beginning, what’s really interesting is where we’re moving into.

The frameworks were very structured, you had to deliver against certain parameters.

Standards are very much tailored around the individual learners needs and moving things forward.

That’s really, really interesting because we can then design curriculum which meets learners needs, can meet the needs of local employers and then also around sector wide as well. We can meet needs and develop qualifications and career paths for people really quite intelligent. It’s really exciting, I think that’s a really great way that we’re moving forward as a sector.

How well do you think colleges in general utilise LMI in curriculum planning?

The sector has always really been interested in being able to meet learners’ ongoing growth needs, also the local employers’ needs.

But the sector utilising data? To use Ofsted terms has always “required improvement”.

We need to embrace technology; we need to be able to see what those independent sources of information are. There’s been some really, really great examples that I’ve seen across the sector where people have been really intelligent in utilising labour market information.

There’re others who still do need to catch up with that, or to sort of explore what the different sources of data will be. But on the whole, the sector is embracing it really positively and is really exploring what that can mean. I just think there’s a lot more that we can do.

There’re so many different ways that we can utilise data which people are still exploring and expanding ways to do that. I think that the more we expand, the more we investigate what that means, the better it’s going to be for the learner, the better it’s going to be for their career paths, the better it is going to be for the employer, for our region and for the UK plc. So, we really do need to be more intelligent with how we utilise data.

In addition to Ofsted compliance, why should the sector be embracing localised LMI?

LMI and Data is really, really interesting and really exciting. It does tick an Ofsted box, but there is so much bigger opportunity than that, particularly for colleges and providers to look really independently, to be able to say these are the needs which employers want.

These are the skills that they need, these are the skills that are mapped out in our region, and this is why and how we can develop these curricula. I think this is why curriculum intent is really interesting.

This why I think labour market information is really interesting, this is why Data is really exciting, I can’t believe I’m saying data is exciting, but it is because it means we can join up the dots and be able to help individuals. It’s their lives, it’s their family lives, it’s the community, it’s employers.

How can we as a sector bring all that together? I think if we can use as many different tools as possible, data seems to be a really, really clever way of doing that, I think it’s just the way that the sector needs to embrace and move forward.

Gavin O’Meara, Chief Executive and Head of Digital Media, FE News

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