The significant and welcome focus on Further Education and the sector’s workforce from the Augar Review of Post-18 Education and Funding on 30 May 2019 came at an important time for the FE sector.
The review states how, “Recruitment of a high quality workforce is challenging for many FE colleges” and that “High quality FE, which is close to the labour market and employers, needs to offer teaching by vocational experts with up to date experience and knowledge and it must recruit people who did not make teaching a lifetime career.”
The very next day after the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was released, Skills Minister, Anne Milton MP, announced the FE providers chosen for Round 2 of the £5million Taking Teaching Further programme, managed by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) on behalf of the Department for Education.
The programme, developed by Association of Colleges (AoC) and the ETF, was launched in June 2018 with two Strands:
- Strand 1 gives funding to selected colleges and further education providers to help 150 new FE teachers be recruited from industries where they are experts.
- Strand 2 looks to develop and enhance ongoing exchanges between industry and FE providers through funding innovative projects to explore how industry and the FE sector can work together to make sure students gain the knowledge and skills businesses really need.
There was an increase in the number of applications to be part of the Taking Teaching Further programme from Round 1 to Round 2, showing appreciation, enthusiasm and commitment to this initiative from across the FE sector.
Round 2 of the Taking Teaching Further programme will provide more than £900,000 to support 22 innovative projects to look at ways to improve the links between further education providers and industry so students are learning the skills and knowledge that employers require. 45 further education providers have also been chosen in Round 2 to recruit experienced industry professionals.
The industry expert recruitment through Taking Teaching Further focuses on supporting priority sectors, including the first T Level subjects to be taught:
- Education and Childcare
- Digital, and
- Construction – as well as Engineering and Manufacturing and other STEM subjects
The importance of this subject area recruitment focus is supported by the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding which says there is a need, “to attract more industry professionals into teaching in FE, to provide tailored professional development targeted at teachers who will be teaching T levels.”
The Taking Teaching Further programme has five long-term aims to:
- Raise the profile and prestige of FE teaching, particularly among industry professionals
- Increase the overall number of skilled FE teachers in the technical routes to teach the first T Levels (Childcare and Education, Digital, Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing and other STEM technical routes), by helping experienced industry professionals to enter the FE teaching profession
- Increase the opportunity for industry-related CPD for current teachers
- Demonstrate the value of, and possibilities for, industry / FE collaboration
- Stimulate and support local initiatives to build capacity in FE teaching and improve industry collaboration.
In the speech by outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, the morning of the Augar review released, the PM spoke about how:
“making a success of FE is not just about increased funding, it’s about giving these young people a genuine choice about their education.
"So more also needs to be done to ensure that further and technical options are every bit as attractive a path for students as more academic options, including by reforming the sector so colleges can thrive.
"That will mean more specialisation and collaboration… And reforms to ensure the courses offered by colleges deliver the skills that are needed by local businesses.”
As recognised by Anne Milton MP, the Taking Teaching Further programme has already started to increase the number of specialist teachers at FE providers, and collaborative innovation projects. Through Round 1 of the programme, announced in October 2018,
“We’ve already seen fantastic stories of success. The fund has supported 47 new teachers and 19 innovative projects to date” said the Skills Minister at the launch of Round 2.
Alison Morris, Executive Director of Programmes at the Education and Training Foundation (ETF)