From education to employment

Innovative project will train industry experts to teach in the classroom to create a highly skilled digital workforce

An innovative project led by the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) will create a highly skilled IT and digital workforce by bringing industry experts into the classroom.

The scheme trains employers to teach students through live and online training sessions, a training pack and collaboration with college staff, to enable them to support and enhance lessons by sharing the latest technical and digital skills required by UK business.

The project is part of the Association of College’s Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) Technical Skills National Programme, and also includes partnerships with Capital City College Group, risual, SoundSkool, Free2Learn, Intertrain, British Academy of Jewellery, Ada. National College for Digital Skills and Haringey Council.

OTLA stemmed from Government plans to transform post-16 education by replacing thousands of courses with 15 straightforward routes into skilled employment, including digital, construction, engineering, health and science, social care and business and administrative.

Although the CONEL project focuses on IT and digital skills it can be applied to any other route, and it is hoped other colleges will follow its lead in creating their own schemes.

Funding for the project was secured from the Association of Colleges in March following a bid to the Education and Training Foundation.

Torcato Coutinho, Head of Teaching and Learning, said:  “This project is about getting college staff and students ready for new technical qualifications to meet the demands of industry.

“It will provide young people with access to the very latest digital skills in short bursts of teaching by industry experts, and also upskill teachers with the most up-to-date practices.

“Our aim is to create a model that will be used nationally, which will strengthen links between education and employers.”

Torcato was invited to address the Microsoft Further Education Summit on 14 June on how CONEL is embedding digital technology in education.

During his speech he referred to the project, the College’s recently launched IT Academy and Microsoft Showcase Classroom in partnership with risual, and how teaching staff have undergone Microsoft accredited training.

According to a Government commissioned report, the UK is performing poorly when it comes to intermediate professional and technical skills, and forecast to fall to 28th out of 33 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries by 2020.

Torcato said: “In this age of rapid technological change it is important that the UK does not get left behind, which is why at CONEL we’re committed to working with employers to ensuring both our staff and students are equipped with the cutting edge skills needed to meet the demands of industry.”

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