With government, funding bodies and the business community all demanding that colleges focus more of their efforts on providing local employers with the skilled employees they really need, colleges are having to work harder than ever to ensure that the learners who come through their doors go back out of those doors fully prepared for the world of work and armed with the skills that that the local economy actually needs.
BPC Balance is a holistic approach to improving the employability of students and providing local employers with the skills they really need. The strategy envisages creating a College where:
- Every full time course includes an employability element and work experience
- Apprenticeships are offered in all curriculum areas
- Local businesses are invited to validate all full time courses
- Courses are aligned to meet the demands of the local and regional economy
- Students are given solid data about occupations in their area
To help implement this vision, the College has formed a strategic partnership with two leading organisations within the Further Education sector: REED NCFE and EMSI.
REED NCFE’s aim is to provide learners with a smooth transition from learning into work. Through a number of products and services, the organisation equips students for the labour market and helps them secure a job. Amongst many other things, by working with REED NCFE, BPC is able to:
- Offer employability training to students, helping them become “work ready”
- Provide a free recruitment service to students and local employers
- Support staff in finding relevant work experience placements for students
- Engage with employers to convert jobs to apprenticeships
- Advise students on the different stages of jobs, from entry level to dream job
EMSI’s aim is to provide organisations with data on occupations and industries to help them better understand their local economy. Through various tools, EMSI data is currently helping colleges throughout the country get to grips with the skills needs of their local economy, and providing learners with insight into employment opportunities in their area. Amongst other things, by working with EMSI, BPC is able to:
- Gain access to uniquely detailed and localised Labour Market Information
- Shape curriculum to meet the skills needs of the local and regional economy
- Identify key target sectors to focus employer engagement activities
- Provide students with data on where future employment opportunities are likely
- Direct students into sustainable careers by giving them solid occupation data
Different Services – Same Vision – Great Results
Although REED NCFE and EMSI provide very different services, BPC Balance harnesses the vision which lies at the core of both organisations: to help colleges send out people fully prepared into an economy that is crying out for their skills and abilities.
With enrolments up, increased student retention, more apprenticeships, better employer engagement, and students being directed into sustainable careers, BPC Balance is proving to be a powerful vision for a college that is clearly determined to bring benefits to the students, employers and local economy that it serves.