Rotherham College, located in South Yorkshire, offers a rich mix of full-time and part-time courses as well as apprenticeships and Higher Education courses. They also deliver bespoke courses to businesses and the surrounding community.
The implementation of Career Coach at the College happened carefully and deliberately. The College staff purchased Career Coach in December 2012 and have been very careful to support it with fully functional course pages. The approach included prioritising and uploading key college courses and apprenticeships in the first phase with a view to rolling it out across all courses once the level of information provided on the College website course pages was available for Career Coach to link to. This approach has allowed learners to get the most out of the tool without running into complications and delays.
While many students do use Career Coach on their own, many of the benefits are seen when the tool is used in the context of the Careers Lounge.
Career Coach brought an essential careers element to the College.”
Student Liaison Officers meet with learners and walk them through the tool, showing them how the huge amounts of LMI are relevant to their own chosen career. This allows informed choices to be made for future courses ensuring they are building the appropriate skill set for their chosen career. The learners are allowed to explore the course pages on their own, but in general, their time is more profitable when they are either in a careers class or meeting one-on-one with a Student Liaison Officer.
Career Coach gives learners at Rotherham College insight into their futures. As Carly Jones, Head of Marketing, said, “Career Coach brought an essential careers element to the College. With the addition of crucial LMI, we are now able to provide a better insight into careers and job availability locally to our prospective and enrolled learners.”
Like many colleges who use Career Coach, Rotherham has incorporated the tool into their course pages via widgets. These widgets sit on each course page and prompt learners to click through to the Career Coach profile of whatever course they are looking at.
Rotherham always keeps the learners in mind. While some colleges have rebranded Career Coach to ensure that it will merge seamlessly with the rest of their website, Rotherham College has chosen to keep the Career Coach brand. The reason for this is that some learners may be looking at the websites of many different colleges or have been introduced to Career Coach through career talks at school and the staff of Rotherham College wanted to make sure that these learners weren’t confused by a different title or style.
Rotherham has many more plans for Career Coach, including incorporating it further into their website, introducing it to schools in the area, providing careers support in College Learning Centres, and showcasing it on several iPads at internal and external events. The staff see potential in the tool, but are in no hurry to rush out all their ideas at once. Carly says “Colleges shouldn’t be afraid to take a phased approach when implementing Career Coach. The best thing to do is to ensure that the learners are comfortable using it and it has the right level of information to help them make informed decisions about their futures.”