From education to employment

City & Guilds and NEF partner to boost STEM skills and training

The New Engineering Foundation (NEF) industry association is partnering with awarding body City & Guilds to improve the quality of vocational education and training for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

NEF will be supporting City & Guilds in the development of its new programmes of study for 14-19 year olds, the TechBac, providing technical expertise and contributions from its network of industry partners.

This support will help develop a curriculum in engineering and digital technologies that aims to deliver productive, valued and responsive technologists for a new age of industry.

Kirstie Donnelly, director of product development and learning technologies at City & Guilds, said: “Both organisations are trying to raise the quality of vocational education in this country and help it gain the recognition it deserves for plugging the skills gap in STEM sectors.

“Through the partnership, we will be able to get direct feedback and endorsement from employers and the FE community as we continue to develop the TechBac, ensuring that when we launch next year we have a programmes of study that best meets the needs of employers, learners and colleges.”

NEF has already developed a platform called T-Shaped Learning, which supports the development of transferable professional skills and personal qualities in addition to a strong base of technical knowledge.

Jo Lopes, head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We at Jaguar Land Rover look to identify in potential recruits good fundamental technical skills with behaviours and attributes that will enable them to be successful in their work. The T-shaped Technologist is a useful model and I would encourage colleges and universities to  adopt and adapt it to ensure their programmes prepare their learners for a life beyond education.”

Professor Sa’ad Medhat, chief executive of NEF, added: “Vocational qualifications, particularly in such subjects as engineering, are vital for our economic growth. The proposed TechBac for engineering development aims to provide a purposeful and valuable technical vocational qualification that higher education institutions and employers will recognise, and that learners will value in fulfilling their aspirations.”

As the focus on the demonstration of practical skills is likely to require new approaches to delivery on the part of providers, the partnership will also develop a TechBac-focused programme of technical briefings and masterclasses to support and strengthen teachers’ understanding of employer requirements, current practices and new technologies.

The programme will be available for learners from September 2014 and, alongside engineering and digital technologies, NEF is working with City & Guilds on other technical vocational qualification streams including construction.


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