From education to employment

BMet employer engagement academics address young people’s futures at virtual global conference

Suzie Branch-Haddow and Professor Prue Huddleston

BMet helped lead the way at a global virtual research conference recently, held to highlight existing and possible pathways for young people’s futures through employer partnerships.

Suzie Branch-Haddow, Vice Principal of External Development at BMet and Professor Prue Huddleston, Member of BMet’s Corporation and Conference Co-chair, joined around 300 education representatives from local, national and international organisations – to present their expertise on Employer Engagement: Curriculum, Qualifications and Assessment.

Their contributions were part of a two-day event – the Education and Employers 6th International Conference on Employer Engagement. Its theme: Preparing Young People for the Future. It was jointly hosted by Education and Employers and the Edge Foundation.

Employer engagement in general education, technical and vocational education and training was the focus, and the ways in which these routes prepare young people for the rapidly changing world of work.

The need to develop and capture skill requirements within the changing labour market, in response to effects of Covid-19, was also a key consideration.

Through Suzie’s captivating industry talk as a panel speaker, she was able to showcase BMet’s vision and range of student opportunities, via the college’s successful delivery of an employer-related curriculum, qualifications and assessments.

Suzie outlined three approaches to BMet’s employer engagement:

  • having a comprehensive network programme in which employees regularly attend regional economic events – learning about different sectors and determining how the college should respond to skills requirements.
  • utilising employer engagement boards and round tables. These allow employers to assess and review programmes within the college – focusing on content, format and delivery models.
  • emphasising live projects. These range from fashion students designing wedding dresses for local boutiques, to social impact projects for multinational firms. “Covid has encouraged new creativity in live project design,” Suzie said.

Suzie added: “It was a real honour to have been given this great opportunity to liaise with a variety of like-minded organisations on a global scale.

“BMet is a community-focused FE institution, which collaboratively works hand in hand with our employer partners to deliver training programmes that meet sector needs for today and tomorrow.

The conference also included numerous breakout sessions and panel discussions, with nearly 100 international speakers.

By going virtual, the audience vastly increased – reaching significantly more people globally and enabling wider participation and engagement, with a broader community of fellow professionals in the education sphere.

Other attendees included researchers, practitioners, employers, awarding organisations and policymakers from around the world.

Conference papers presented included:

  • Employer Engagement: Boosting Attainment and Wellbeing,
  • Better Prepared: Essential skills and employment outcomes for young people,
  • Employer engagement for Youth Transitions: Crafted for a COVID-impacted world
  • The role of 14 to 16 delivery in colleges in supporting Education, Engagement and Employability
  • Efficient opportunities to engage employers within the curriculum: an example of the practice of the University of Latvia
  • Exploring barriers and the way forward in managing Malaysian industry-institution partnership
  • Work-based education in Australian VET
  • Employer centricity in a decentralised world

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