From education to employment

Educators have their say in a new online survey from FERSG

A new online survey by the Further Education Reputation Strategy Group (FERSG) has just been launched, which aims to find out what employees think of the state of further education, and what they have found rewarding and encouraging during their careers in the sector.

FE has already proven to transform the lives of its students but it is the opinion of the educator, which this survey seeks to reveal. The survey must be completed by Sunday 10 June 2012 for opinions to be counted.

Alison Birkinshaw, chair of FERSG and principal of York College, said: “This is groundbreaking research. We know that staff advocacy makes a real difference to reputation, and we know that staff in FE are incredibly dedicated to student success.”

Those working within the sector are often those who know it best, and to have their advocacy for the institution of further education and its successes is naturally one of the best recommendations FE can receive.

“What we don’t know is the extent to which staff working in FE speak up on behalf of the sector,” said Birkinshaw.

Giving educators the opportunity to have their voices heard will be very revealing and thus extremely helpful in improving and maintaining current FE standards, and could also have a great effect on the number of those entering into the FE field as a student or educator.

While this is not a ‘satisfaction survey,’ it will go some way towards rating the viability and achievement of further education, therefore highlighting weaknesses as well as strengths in the sector.

Birkenshaw believes “this research will help in raising our awareness of what matters to those working in FE”, and ensure that their voices are heard.

The survey will look at what drives employees to enter into the field of FE, and what motivates them to continue. It will also examine how educators from many different positions, from within many different types of institution, perceive the reputation of the sector.

The FERSG expects to receive information from a variety of organisations including colleges, sixth forms, tertiary colleges, adult and community learning providers, independent training providers, and offender learning institutions.

This survey is a culmination of a 3-part research process by The Knowledge Partnership, which included a literature review of existing research into employee perception of further education, and one-to-one interviews with FE staff.

The results are due to be published in June, and aim to highlight what motivates employees to work and continue working in further education.

Daisy Atkinson

(Pictured: FERSG chair Alison Birkinshaw)

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