Derby College Group (DCG) has been commended nationally for its partnership work with local employers to improve the learning experience for Professional Construction students.

DCG has been awarded a commendation by the Association of Colleges (AoC) under the Beacon Awards programme for its innovation in curriculum design through a problem-based learning pedagogy/approach to both teaching and learning and assessment.

The approach has led to a re-design of the Professional Construction curriculum to better prepare students for the workplace.

The commendation coincides with DCG starting to recruit for the new T-level qualification in Professional Construction – as well as in Digital and Childcare and Education – with the first students starting the study programmes in September 2020.

Under the innovative re-design of the curriculum, students work in teams to a brief which has been designed by partner employers in the Professional Construction industry such as architects and civil engineers. This makes learning relevant to the challenges that students will face in their future careers.

Melanie Lanser is DCG’s Director of Teaching, Learning and Academic Research and is pictured with the Professional Construction teachers involved in the pilot programme.

She said: “We are delighted that our innovative work with local employers to better prepare our Professional Construction students for their future careers has been recognised in this way.

“Focusing on problem-based learning, teaching and assessment has enabled students to concentrate on finding solutions to industry-relevant, rather than theoretical, issues. 

“The pilot programme involved designing part of a new wildlife centre and included visits to similar projects, meeting a range of professional construction professionals and learning from employer-led masterclasses.

“This innovative curriculum design has had excellent feedback from employers, teachers and students alike and has particularly developed the students’ employability skills such as creative thinking, communication and presentation skills.

“It has also led to a dramatic increase in higher grades alongside broadening students’ career aspirations.  They now have a far greater understanding of the opportunities available to them – whether that is higher education or apprenticeship and employer training programmes.

“The change in focus is also perfect preparation for the new T-level qualifications which start in September 2020 and which have a wider focus on work-placement learning.”Beacon Award

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