National and international online quality assurance software specialist Mesma has extended the scope of its insightQ improvement partner programme following the success of the pilot.

Launched earlier this year, and the only one of its type in the UK, the programme utilises the company’s insightQ software to underpin collaborative action research opportunities for further education and skills providers to drive change and quality improvement.

The programme is designed to facilitate open and honest collaboration, removing barriers such as ability to travel, time constraints and local competition. insightQ allows internal quality assurance outcomes to be opened-up to trusted external partners for scrutiny and to share ideas and solutions.

The pilot involved independent training providers, employer providers and adult education authorities, which includes TDR, Cheynes Training, TPM and JGA Group,working closely together on annual self-assessment reporting.

In recent months, this has being extended to include a specific action research thematic review, focusing on each partner’s response to the current pandemic. 

A key element of the programme is Mesma’s support, which covers facilitating initial introductions among partners, including identifying collaborative themes and bringing the groups together online to share ideas to drive quality improvement.

Access to the programme, which is currently offered at no additional cost for new and existing insightQ clients, is now being broadened to new partners looking to participate. These include ITPs, employer providers, local adult education authorities, colleges and universities. The new thematic reviews will examine their initial assessment processes and preparation for formative assessment, as well as the broader annual self-assessment improvement partner group. 

Andy Proud, business support services director at Newcastle upon Tyne training provider TDR, said involvement in the programme had been beneficial. 

He added: “Peer reviewing with colleagues at TPM and JGA Group has been a big confidence booster and provided a high degree of reassurance that our self-assessment is robust and on track. The insight gained into how other organisations approach self-assessment has been revelatory, enabling us to share best practice while meeting the needs of the new inspection framework.”

In time, Mesma’s ambition is to break down geographical boundaries even further with clients in other countries engaging in the process. Louise Doyle, Mesma CEO, said: “We find ourselves talking about the same challenges to providing high quality technical and vocational education (TVET) in our international work as we do in the UK.  

“insightQ bridges the gap between quality assurance and quality improvement. The software makes the processes easier, freeing up time to engage more fully in learning from the outputs. The improvement partner programme helps our clients share ideas instead of reinvent wheels. 

“We’re already having some interesting exploratory conversations about how to extend the programme beyond its current UK focus and set ourselves a target of creating collaborative international opportunities for 500 TVET providers in the next 36 months.”

Mesma has seen a rapid take up of its products since being established in 2013 by training providers, colleges, universities and government agencies, looking to simplify complex quality management processes and better target resources to support learner experiences.

Louise Doyle said that quality assurance remains paramount for education organisations despite the pandemic, which is drivingdemand for readily accessible subscription-based software and new collaborative initiatives.

“It’s a challenging time for those involved in skills and learning provision, but we’re responding to our clients’ priorities. As they have adapted to the challenges so must we; digital solutions like ours can help to manage the complexity and costs of processes and do so at scale,” she added. 

“We are evolving our client services and the partner improvement programme is the latest iteration of how we’re meeting their needs and supporting improvements in the quality of their provision. It’s fantastic to see TDR and others participating and securing tangible results.”

Mesma developed the insightQ platform to support clients Implement effective quality assurance and improvement processes, reducing complexity and cost. Their software and consultancy help an increasing number of training providers, colleges, universities, schools and government agencies simplify their approach, gather management information and target resources where most needed to continuously improve.

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