Jayne Salford, Digital Project Manager, Novus

If you don’t innovate you get left behind.

That’s a universal truth across all industries, across every sector.

Prison education is certainly no exception.

That’s why at Novus we have launched our Digital Transformation.

This transformation is changing how we communicate with our colleagues, how we teach our learners and the lessons we provide.

Steps we are taking within Novus education departments are keeping us at the forefront of digital innovation within our classrooms, this isn’t just about teaching aids and smart boards, it’s about providing our teachers with an environment in which they can succeed, and as a result, providing our learners with the skills that are fundamental for their rehabilitation.

Technology and the digital landscape are fast changing environments, even within prison education we are seeing resources develop and change quickly, it is important our teachers and tutors are trained, confident and supported in their use.

So what does the Digital Transformation look like?

It starts with getting buy-in from Education Managers. We want to create a culture within our education departments that supports innovation and discussion around digital resources. We want to create an environment where colleagues are acquiring and exchanging skills with each other.

If our Digital Transformation is about culture within our education departments, then our upcoming IT Refresh is about providing colleagues with improved hardware and facilities. We want to ensure we have a workforce that is prepared to take on the changes in technology that are coming their way.

Our first step has been to train the trainers. By delivering regional digital sessions, as part of a growing digital community in our establishments, we are making sure we have highly-skilled colleagues in each education department. They are tasked with supporting and empowering their colleagues to make the most of the resources that are available to them.

Teachers and tutors are at the forefront of this transformation, as we empower them we are encouraging them to develop their own resources for Virtual Campus, which can then be accessed by all colleagues in any establishment. This is changing the way we are able to communicate ideas and best practise across our establishments.

A colleague in the West Midlands can develop a resource in their establishment, which can then be picked up and utilised by a team in the North West. With site level training sessions and digital webinars beginning their roll-out, we are continuing to empower the individual to make a digital difference for learners.

Empowering our colleagues to make better use of their resources is fantastic, but the end game is always to provide better education for our learners. If we are going to fully rehabilitate our learners, they need to be equipped to integrate fully with their community, we live in a changing society where community is quickly moving to a digital setting. We are introducing learners to social media in the classroom, a theoretical rather than practical exercise which is preparing them for a changing society.

The Digital Transformation is also going to redefine how we are able to track the progress of our learners, helping us to support their learning in the most effective way possible. An empowered and supported workforce is going to transform the digital environment in which we deliver education.

Jayne Salford, Digital Project Manager, Novus

About Novus: Delivering education, training and employment opportunities to 60,000 adults and young people in over 50 prisons, young offender institutions and secure settings across the UK, with over 25 years’ experience in offender learning, we have built a reputation as an innovator in rehabilitation, working towards reducing re-offending by transforming people's lives through learning and skills.

We are part of LTE Group, the first integrated education and skills group of its kind in the UK and the largest social enterprise in the country dedicated to learning, training and employment.

Over the years our role within the justice sector has grown and diversified, working with a wide variety of partner organisations, to raise the aspirations of offenders to increase employability and reduce the re-offending rate.

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