Providing learners with a gateway to industry
You needn’t look far for motivation and support to offer new learners a taste of work-related training, says Natalie Wilson, EAL product manager
Why has EAL developed the new ‘gateway to industry’ qualifications?
“The huge number of people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) is a major concern for individuals, communities and the whole economy. We can see there is a real need for new approaches to help put the situation right, as well as engaging and inspiring future generations of learners to explore industry careers.”
What will Centres and employers gain?
“From speaking to employers, we know they face increasing pressure to achieve results so they can stay competitive – so certain basic skills are a given for anyone seeking work. While the funding market for Centres is changing, there are new opportunities out there. Designing this suite of level 1 industry related qualifications to include programmes of different sizes will help Centres be more flexible and creative with forward planning to secure future cohorts.”
Why will these qualifications appeal to learners?
“Not everyone is ready to begin their learning journey at level 2; some need support with practical and soft skills to get started. I know from my experience as a faculty manager how learner retention by colleges and private training providers also relies a lot on motivation. If a learner sets out on a full time programme and finds it’s not what they expected, they’re far more likely to drop out. So these shorter qualifications are ideal to give learners a taste of work-related training, and settle them back into a learning environment – particularly if they didn’t have a positive experience of school.”
What about funding support?
“We’ve worked to ensure a number of options are open to Centres, in terms of the length of programmes they offer, who they target and how they choose to fund them. That could mean drawing on public funds via the Skills Funding Agency; offering courses on a full-cost basis; working with their local Jobcentre to help meet targets for supporting unemployed people through training; or partnering with local schools to offer vocational options for pupils aged 14 and upwards, to spark their enthusiasm for industry careers.”
How can these qualifications complement existing provision?
“Both the Awards and Certificates can be run on a termly, ‘roll-on roll-off’ basis, as a stepping stone to full-time courses. With so many people affected by unemployment, it’s vital we work together to maximise available funding – so these qualifications can act as a tool to recruit and prepare a pool of learners who are ready and able to commit to longer programmes.”
What makes these qualifications different to what’s already on offer?
“Their flexibility is the key – if Centres already run industry-specific or generic level 1 programmes, they can fit these qualifications around their existing offer by focusing on either element.
“Tackling health and safety, employability skills and other units across all industries gives employers the confidence that successful learners will know the importance of acting responsibly in the workplace. And covering fundamentals like ‘managing own learning’ and ‘preparing for interviews’ will boost learners’ confidence in their own capabilities.
“We’ve also laid on a menu of unit options so learners can choose their first steps towards careers in electrical installation, pipework, vehicle maintenance, automated technologies and a host of other industries. This way, they can choose a subject that really inspires them – or build their understanding in an area that’s in demand from local employers.”
To find out more or express interest in offering Level 1 qualifications, simply contact our customer services team on +44 (0)1923 652400.
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