From education to employment

In an era of change BTEC can help progress careers #BTECAwards19

Almost 18 months have passed since the release of Pearson’s comprehensive and ambitious report into the future of skills. The report (in conjunction with Nesta and the Oxford Martin School) challenges some of the alarmist predictions about the labour market of the future, concluding that, while some occupations will inevitably see a decline, the numerous trends at play mean we will likely see growth in other areas and indeed new occupations springing up.

The implication of this for further education is the need for more flexible and adaptive pathways, synchronised with the changing needs of the labour market, that help students to develop ’21st century skills’ and job-specific learning as well as – if not over and above – generic subject knowledge. For individuals, it is a commitment to lifelong learning and reskilling, as we grow with roles or shift occupations over the course of our careers.

The research predicts the landscape of 2030: now only a decade and pocket-change away. But in fact, we can already see the seeds of transformation taking root. There can be few industries today that are not already impacted to a greater or lesser degree by the opportunities and challenges of rapid technological evolution. And as this tide grows in strength, workers must either flow with it or risk sinking, while those who embrace change and actively pursue learning will prosper – riding the swell to new heights.

It is precisely this that makes BTEC so relevant today. As we gear up for our ninth BTEC Awards, we can’t help but reflect on some of our past winners, such as Thomas Coleman, winner of the BTEC Apprentice of the Year (19+) award 2018, and Feven Zeray, Adult Learner of the Year, both of whom have embraced BTEC as a route to personal growth and career progression.

Thomas had already been working for 9 years for A-one+ Integrated Highway Services when he decided to return to studying. He elected to take a BTEC path over A-levels because he felt a system of work-based training and assessment would be more relevant to his circumstances, and “pivotal to his career progression”. And he was right. With the extra motivation and confidence that studying for his BTEC provided, he jumped on the opportunity to get involved with professional bodies and seminars and took the initiative on modernising the company’s Geographical Information System (GIS). This led not only to a plethora of company and industry awards and recognition but also to a conditional offer to study a Masters in GIS at Leeds – reflecting the value universities give to BTEC as well as Thomas’s obvious talents and efforts.

Feven Zeray, meanwhile, is an inspiring example of a single mother balancing study with home commitments. Her college’s involvement with Mercedes AMG HPP opened the door for her to showcase her aptitude and enthusiasm – leading to her being crowned HPP ‘Student of the Year’ and putting her on track for an Advanced Apprenticeship with the Formula1 Team.

Described by a fellow student as “a role model not just for women, but for men as well because of how dedicated she is to the course,” Feven is also a STEM ambassador, visiting schools to encourage young people to consider a career in engineering. Above all, however, she wants to be a role model for her daughter: “I want to show her she can do whatever she wants.”

We’re proud of the career opportunities BTEC offers, but we know they are brought to life by the hard work of students and the dedication of the professionals who inspire them. The BTEC Awards are an opportunity to showcase the best and the brightest – so if you know someone who fits this description don’t forget you can nominate until 18th March

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