We wrote at the beginning of the year about how City of Wolverhampton College had gone from being judged “Inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors in 2012, to “Good” with outstanding features just two years later. Amongst other things, the 2014 report praised the College for a number of things, including “strong leadership and management,” and a curriculum which “very effectively meets the needs of students, local employers and the regional community.”
Now the hard work of staff at the College has been further recognized with two Beacon awards from the Association of Colleges (AoC). The first award — Outstanding Leadership of Improvement — was given in recognition of the College’s programme, “A college transformed — facing the challenges and building successes,” which was instrumental in their improved Ofsted grading. The College then won a second award — Engagement with Employers – in recognition of their excellent “Employer Engagement,” which included research into local skills shortages in areas such as engineering, construction and health, which in turn enabled them to better engage with employers in those sectors.
One of the major factors that is helping the College identify skills shortages and so better engage with employers is their use of local Labour Market Intelligence. As we mentioned in our article back in January, the College has been using our online LMI tool, Analyst, to identify skills demand in the local area, and according to Kirk Hookham, Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality, it has helped them to:
“better identify the match of curriculum to local and regional job opportunities, including in many cases specific units of qualifications that we have incorporated into our programmes to support our students in gaining employment.”
Their use of LMI was specifically mentioned in the awards by Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, who said:
“AoC is pleased to be able to reward a college which has done so much for its local community and economy by supporting both employers and employees. The college has used local market intelligence and identified that there is a high level of unemployment in the city and where jobs might be found. It has then used that information, to great success, in working with partners to support employers and employees and boost the economy.”
The College is rightly proud of winning these awards, and we are pleased to have played some part in their success. However, what really pleases us it not the awards as such, but rather what they signify — that the College really is having a huge positive effect on the lives of students, employers and the local economy. That is something to celebrate.