The Sheffield College has been awarded the highest level of accreditation for a new work experience programme for students. The College is the first organisation in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, to achieve the gold level Work Experience Quality Standard.
The national accreditation provides external quality assurance for high quality work experience that develops learners’ employability skills. For more information, visit http://www.fairtrain.org/work-experience-quality-standard.
Around 4,000 College students are set to complete work experience placements this year. The commendation, from national charity Fair Train, was announced during Work Experience Week 2016. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of high quality work experience.
Paul Corcoran, Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, said: “We are thrilled to receive this national recognition. Our work experience programme helps our students gain valuable employability skills that boost their job and career prospects. It also enables employers to spot the talent of the future, which supports regional economic growth.”
The programme will help students like Georgia Haseldine, 19, and Dawn Hardman, 17, (pictured) who are completing a BTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (Health Sciences), equivalent to three A Levels.
They want to become midwives and have gained work experience volunteering over 18 months at the Jessop Wing maternity unit, part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for up to one day a week.
Georgia said: “For me, a vocational qualification is a much more effective route to university and midwifery. The work experience has also given me a great insight into the profession and made me even more determined to succeed.”
The College’s new integrated work experience programme creates a ‘line of sight’ for students. This enables them to see why they are doing the placement, where it could lead and what skills they will develop.
Learners, parents and carers, tutors and employers were consulted as part of the programme design, which follows the framework laid out in the Work Experience Quality Standard accreditation. Developed by Fair Train in association with the Department for Education, Ofsted, the TUC and other groups, the framework sets out the criteria for best practice delivery.
By achieving gold level accreditation, the College has independently verified the quality of its work experience provision and joined an elite group of providers and employers setting the benchmark for quality in this area.
Ian Jelley, Deputy Chief Executive, Fair Train, commented: “The Sheffield College is leading the way in offering high quality work experience which is now officially recognised at gold level by the Work Experience Quality Standard. At a time when the Saturday job is in decline and work experience opportunities are not as widespread as they once were, many young people face a challenge in gaining the skills and experience that they need to start a career.”
He added: “The Sheffield College has developed a truly holistic approach to work experience that embeds it right across the curriculum, enabling students to gain a greater insight into the world of work, develop more employability skills and be more prepared to take the next step in their lives when leaving education.”