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Delivering the missing middle: Setting out a clear route for further education colleges to get people into work in the tech sector

Following on from FE News’ article around the Newcastle College, South East LEP, Gateway Qualifications Code Institute white paper How FE meets industry demand for software skills, Code Institute today (21 Jun) announces the launch of a white paper setting out a clear route for further education colleges to get people into work in the tech sector.

The education technology specialist supports further education colleges in the provision of job-focused software development and web application skills with a one-year level 5 qualification, leading to 90% graduate employment in the tech sector within six months of qualifying.

Code Institute partnered with City of Bristol College, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Gateway Qualifications to publish the white paper, ‘Delivering the Missing Middle.

The main points of the white paper are:

  •  Background: the consensus that a university education is the only education worth having is bad for the economy, according to education secretary, Gavin Williamson. “For too long, we’ve been training people for jobs that don’t exist We need to train them for the jobs that do exist and will exist in the future.”
  • This white  paper examines the implications of the government’s skills for jobs publication earlier this year and takes in the view of City of Bristol College for how this will work
  • What is the “missing middle” – there is a tendency in further education for learners to move from Level 3 straight to degree-level education or move into the workforce which means that skills-focused technical education at levels 4 and 5 has been underrepresented – the UK ratio is currently 80:1 Level 6 (degree) grads: Level 4 & 5 grads. There is currently an abundance of tech jobs in the UK requiring level 5 qualifications.
  • The missing middle is a problem for two apparently contradictory reasons: it is wasteful because it over-educates a huge part of the workforce, and because many graduates are under-qualified, lacking the skills employers need. Many graduates are being forced to reskill as their skillset lacks digital/technical competencies.
  • Employers are crying out for people with digital skills, and software development skills in particular
  • To address the problem of the missing middle, level 4 and 5 technical qualifications should really be pushed. Further Education colleges are best placed to deliver these skills. However, the often lack the resources to develop and deliver the content. So, partnering with a qualified third-party provider offers colleges ready-made solution to give learners the skills they need to kickstart a tech career.

City of Bristol College is now offering a recent Level 5 qualification (previously “missing” from its syllabus) that will prepare people for a career in software development – and do so in less than a year. They are partnering with Code Institute and Gateway Qualifications to make this possible.

Andy Forbes, Principal and Chief Executive of City of Bristol College:

“For me, it’s quite a ludicrous situation, given the importance of coding and digital to the modern economy, that we don’t have an education system that produces people with the right skills.”

Level 5 Gateway Qualifications Diploma in Web Application Development

  • can be deployed using the Code Institute platform, learner support and learner analytics
  • is eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan. Learners don’t make repayments until they are in employment and earning above the threshold (£26,575) and interest is set against the retail price index

Advantage of Code Institute 90% of its graduates are in employment within six months of completing the course

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