Colleges are facing huge pressure from a number of sources — Government, Ofsted, and LEPs for instance — to ensure that they are providing a curriculum that is really geared to serving the needs of their local labour market. For instance, in the recent Department of Business, Innovation and Skills document, Reviewing post-16 education and training institutions, the Government state that they are looking for colleges to show “Better responsiveness to local employer needs and economic priorities”. This is all very well, but how can you tell if your curriculum is meeting the needs of the local community?
Essentially you need three ingredients: your curriculum, the number of course completers, and knowledge of the needs of your local labour market. The first two pieces of information are obviously not hard for colleges to get their hands on, whereas the third is more difficult and requires the use and understanding of detailed local labour market data.
But even if a college has all these three pieces of knowledge, mapping the curriculum and course completers against the needs of the labour market is a huge, almost impossible, task for a college to carry out effectively. This is why we are introducing a new function — Curriculum Planner — in our Analyst tool which will enable colleges to perform the major task of mapping their courses and completers against the demands of their labour market with ease and simplicity.
What Does it do?
Curriculum Planner enables colleges to quickly view the relationship between their course completion volumes (labour market supply) and local employment trends for associated occupations (labour market demand). In turn this means that curriculum planners can then identify which courses are currently oversupplying the labour market, and which areas of high labour market demand are currently not being met. This can then feed back into curriculum planning, to ensure true responsiveness to the needs of the local economy.
How Does it Work?
In order to facilitate this function, we have grouped every course on the Ofqual Register of Regulated Qualifications (RRQ) into one of 323 course areas. These course areas aggregate into clusters that map into the Sector Subject Area categorisation, in effect creating an unofficial “SSA Tier 3.” The course areas are then mapped across to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes they train for, meaning that we can map the courses into a crosswalk to understand the connections between the courses offered at the college and local labour market trends for associated Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.
At the end of the process, colleges can download two key reports:
1. A detailed review of a course area or collection of course areas
2. A summary overview of all 323 course areas, completion numbers and key employment trends
This is a crucial time for colleges, as they seek to respond — and show that they are responding — to the needs of their local labour market. Curriculum Planner will prove to be a hugely useful tool for any college engaged in ensuring their courses match the needs of their economy, making the business of mapping curriculum to labour market a simple and a painless experience.
For more details regarding Curriculum Planner, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org