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ETF and Royal Commission 2023–24 Technical Teaching Fellowships announced

Portraits of the new Technical Teaching Fellows

The recipients of the Technical Teaching Fellowships for 2023–24 have been announced. The prestigious awards, made jointly by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, are to be presented to:

  • Paul Gartside, Security & Data Analytics Curriculum Developer and Digital Coach at South Central Institute of Technology/MKCollege (Milton Keynes College). Paul’s Fellowship will focus on supporting technical teachers as dual professionals, closing the digital divide by bringing education and industry closer together.
  • Amy Hollier, Director of Blended and Online Learning at Heart of Worcestershire College. Her Fellowship will focus on enhancing teaching, learning and assessment through the effective use of contextualised emerging technologies in technical, vocational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education.
  • Bradley Collier and Kumaran Rajarathinam, Teachers in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Blackburn College. Their Fellowship, the first to be awarded to joint applicants, will focus on using a partnership approach to improve the quality of engineering teaching and training.
  • Kevin Pollard, Training Transformation Faculty Manager at MKC Training (MidKent Training), whose Fellowship will focus on bridging the STEM divide through intersectoral working to enhance technical STEM teaching and learning using immersive technologies.

Applications are assessed against criteria including demonstrating highly effective approaches to improving teaching and learning in technical education, how the Fellowship will be used to inspire others, and the planning of professional development opportunities to impact on the pedagogy and professional practice of other teachers.

Fellows are expected to develop knowledge transfer and exchange activities, sharing effective practice at national and regional conferences and via networks, facilitating CPD and contributing to thought leadership through an established technical community of practice. They will also contribute to a final report to engage and motivate technical education practitioners in their specialist subject areas. Each receives a financial award to support their activity and guarantee remission time and is allocated a mentor to support them for the duration of the programme.

The Fellowships will be formally presented at an event being held at the Royal Society in London on Friday 3 March 2023. That event will also see Fellows from previous years describing their Fellowship activity and impact.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM FRS FREng, Commissioner and chair of the Industry and Engineering Committee of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said:

“An effective and highly regarded FE sector is vital to developing and maintaining the skilled workforce so needed by businesses across the UK. I am delighted that these awards recognise and celebrate outstanding teachers in Further Education. I have been particularly impressed by the way previous recipients have used their Technical Teaching Fellowships to extend the visibility and reach of their work. Through working with employers, driving curriculum developments, sharing best practice and inspiring others, they are supporting widespread improvements in technical teaching to the benefit of many learners.”

Jenny Jarvis, Interim CEO of the Education and Training Foundation, said:

“Our congratulations go the successful applicants for the 2023–24 Technical Teaching Fellowships. These awards recognise leading lights in technical education and provide the support they need to effectively share their practice for the benefit of the whole sector. The particular strength of this year’s cohort of applicants is recognised with the award of four Fellowships, rather than the usual three, and the ETF looks forward to seeing them follow in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors to develop the strength and capability of technical teaching across the country.”

It has also been announced that, following a review of the impact of the Technical Teaching Fellowship programme during its first five years, it will join the permanent portfolio of Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Fellowships. This will mean that all Fellows will become alumni of the Royal Commission, providing them with further support to drive quality improvement in technical STEM teaching and training and the opportunity to access further funding.

Additionally, the programme will be expanded, with up to six Fellowships to be awarded annually from the 2024–25 academic year and applications invited from colleagues from the four nations of the United Kingdom. Applications for this cohort will open in March 2023.

John Lavery, Secretary of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, said:

“Education and training in science, technology and engineering are the foundations for the sustainable and skilled workforce desperately needed to tackle the national and global challenges faced by the current and next generation. These fellowships are hugely helpful in raising the standards of teaching in Further Education and their effect is widespread from helping to better fill the UK workforce skills gap to inspiring the next generation of British innovators. The Royal Commission believes that the impact achieved by this scheme is so significant that the awards have been absorbed within their core funding programme and will form part of the organisation’s charitable objectives for the foreseeable future.”

Cerian Ayres, National Head of Technical Education at the ETF, said:

“The world faces profound economic and climatic challenges. To consolidate and advance its role in addressing them, the UK must bolster its technical capability, further developing the skills of those already in the workforce and preparing new entrants. Technical STEM teaching and training has a fundamental role to play in achieving this and the activities of Technical Teaching Fellows are helping to drive the quality of that provision. The addition of the Technical Teaching Fellowships to the Commission’s select portfolio of permanent awards is testament to their effectiveness and impact. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Commission to extend the reach of the programme, engaging and supporting teachers across technical education to ensure positive outcomes for their learners and apprentices.”

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