From education to employment

Network Opportunity Providing Education and Training Providers with Innovation and Focus

The month of August traditionally sees hundreds of thousands of young people biting their finger nails, waiting for the thump of the envelope with a lettered assessment of their academic efforts inside and wondering how many stars can be placed after an “a”.

There is more to qualifications, however, than the joy or despair that comes from receiving the final grade. The process of providing a qualification that is both suited to the needs and demands of the student as well as tailored to meet the anticipated demands of the employer has become a key battle ground for the Government in their efforts to make Britain economically competitive. In an effort to provide a more dynamic and innovative service, a change to the structure of the training and accreditation in England has been announced.

The New Regime

The announcement came from the Open College Network Oxford, Thames and Chiltern Ltd (OCNOTC), who currently provide accreditation and training services in London and the South East. They are to split from the National OCN network, and will be broadening their responsibilities at the same time. Their new role will see them expanding to cover all of Greater London, the South East, the South West, the East Midlands and Eastern Regions.

As part of their new remit, they anticipate being able to offer a more committed and dedicated service, which will include new qualifications for those learners aged 14 and over within Schools, Colleges, Voluntary and Community organisations, Work Based Learning providers and Employers. The description of their new service being “customer focussed” is slightly confusing ““ as an education organisation under the new Government set of priorities, they are surely facing customers on both sides, learners and employers.

New Partnerships

The new remit for the network is being supported through the signing of a new agreement of partnership with OCNW, the National awarding body. This will allow them to become involved in offering alternative qualifications to the students that do not wish to study within the for their GCSE exams. The qualifications are likely to be largely vocationally based, and will offer a more direct route into either the workforce or into work based learning.

As part of the partnership, the organisations working in conjunction with OCNOTC will be eligible to bid for funding for providing these new qualifications, as part of the National Qualification Framework. OCNW Chief Executive Phil Wilkinson sees this as an important development, and said: “OCNW is delighted to be working in partnership with OCNOTC. This exciting new collaboration will support OCNOTC’s plans to further develop its markets for user-friendly national qualifications from an established National Awarding Body.”

Jethro Marsh

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