I am starting to get a better picture of how FE is meeting the employability challenge.
Firstly it is clear that everyone has got the message that FE funding will be less next year and no-one will survive unless they are able to attract customers from local employers and that will mean meeting their training requirements in terms of what they want and not by giving them a choice.
Colleges must become wealth creators in their own locality if they are going to survive and this places them on an increasingly intimate fusion with other local businesses.
Organisationally it appears to being tackled in three ways.
- Providers are using a senior manager to look for large local business to sign a formal agreement, typically between 5 and 10 of thee.
- Small businesses are still being engaged through vocation specific teachers and by placements.
- Apprentices are going to be a huge part of this arrangement and this is yet another strand of connection to local businesses, managed by a specific Apprenticeship co-ordinator.
I am still looking to find out how students with physical or learning disability are supported into employment.
As to what these ‘employability skills’ are….
Clearly there isn’t one list but it be possible to list them as if they can be classified into four:
1. Job skills – what the employer needs to take some on in a given role
2. Personal-ability skills – loosely inclusive of a good work ethic, punctual, reliable, presentable, literate and numerate
3. Organisational Skills – wider digital literate, ability to work in a team, leadership ability
4. Miscellaneous skills – flexibility, travel-able, transferable knowledge and experience, understand Health and Safety
5. A new ‘skill on the block’ is Entrepreneurial or Enterprise skill. In wales, this skill is part of a programme in every college funded by the Welsh Government. They see them both as a skill that will help improve employability. It is not a skill designed for people who want to start a business. It is seen as something desirable in every leaver looking for employment. The Gazelle Group says they are based on this skill which is at the heart of what they preach and proclaim.
These will be tested as the Study progresses.