Further Education is growing. More and more people both rely on it for their education and training, and for their employment as trainers, instructors, administrators. With this series, Further Education Talks Back, we hope to give the thoughts and opinions of the people actually working on the front line of Further Education the attention they deserve.
Tribal Technology is the IT and information management division of the Tribal Group and supports many public sector organisations such as Ufi, learndirect and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) by providing creative IT and management solutions. Tribal Technology is one of the pioneering developers of online learning in the UK education sector and is a specialist in providing IT applications and service solutions for the management of learning.
In the heat of mid August, we spoke with Jeremy Moore, the current Principal Business Consultant from Tribal Technology, about his career, hopes and fears.
Q: "How did you come to be in your current position?"
Jeremy: "I joined Tribal Technology in March 2002 following three years at Derby College where I was Director of Funding and Information Services. My initial role was as a Senior Business Consultant working on both software implementation and MIS managed services. In June 2002 I moved across full time to the managed services team and am now Principal Business Consultant which involves me in the management of delivery of services to our managed service customers and also in specialist consultancy in areas such as funding & audit, strategic reviews of MIS and Curriculum Efficiency reviews."
Q: "What drew you to work in the Further Education sector?"
Jeremy: "I was already working as an associate lecturer at Broxtowe College when the vacancy for MIS Manager was advertised so I resigned from my job in the Health Service (on my 40th birthday!) and moved into FE. I was drawn by the opportunity to bring a more structured approach to the management of data and information."
Q: "What has been your proudest moment / proudest achievement in FE?"
Jeremy: "Managing the delivery of service improvements at a College with a history of poor audits and getting them into Plan Led Funding. (And being asked to write a piece for FE News!)"
Q: "Do you agree that FE has what could be called an "image problem"? And if so, what can be done to change this?"
Jeremy: "Not sure that it is necessarily an image problem "“ but I do think that there some issues around the perception that FE is for the less able whilst school 6th forms and universities are for the more able. I feel that FE offers a very diverse and rich range of learning choices for people of all ages and abilities. It is able to cater for the varying training and learning needs of people who, in the eyes of many, do not fit the typical educational stereotypes so familiar to many of us."
Q: "What is the most frustrating part of your job within the sector?"
Jeremy: "There are lots of aspects of the job that could seem to be frustrating but these actually make up part of the challenge and excitement of doing the job. I suppose that the not infrequent changes in funding provide one of the greatest challenges and frustrations for me, as for many in the sector. Whilst the reasons behind many of the changes are understood, the impact on Colleges and their learners can be significant. Having to change provision and cut successful areas from the curriculum can be frustrating and the impact on funding, year on year, can be as much as 10% to 20%."
Q: "If you had to choose three things to change in FE as a whole, what would they be?"
Jeremy: "This is a tough one because the things you"d want to change can vary from year to year, but if I had to pick the most significant then it would be the funding methodology. Getting the right balance and focus in such a diverse and complex area of provision as post-16 education is never going to be easy but making the methodology fairer and more even-handed would be great for learners and providers. It would also have the benefit of simplifying much of the very demanding data capture requirement so many colleges struggle with. I guess a reduction in the levels of inspection and audit would be very welcome for many in the sector; very often when I"m involved with a college over many months or years there is an almost constant stream of external bodies probing and questioning. Whilst it can have its benefits the impact on the day to day working lives of college staff is enormous."
FE News would like to thank Tribal Technology and Jeremy Moore for his help in this piece, and wish them every success in their future endeavours in FE.
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