As we said in Part 1, having invested in Analyst, Leeds City College have set out some ambitious plans to maximise its use, both in terms of the College’s outward-facing operations, and also internally. Their implementation plan and associated marketing and communications strategy for the tool are impressive, and show that they see clearly huge potential in harnessing Analyst’s wealth of data. In this piece we will look at some of the ways they are either using, or are intending to use, the tool in their outward-facing operations:
One of the more obvious applications of Analyst is in curriculum planning, not least because the tool has a dedicated curriculum planning function. In the context of future potential cuts in the Adult Skills Budget, the College intends to use the data to analyse their current curriculum offer against jobs, openings and projected changes, in order to evidence where there is alignment, where there are gaps, and therefore where they should focus and grow the curriculum to better align with current and future market demand for skills. This is not just a theoretical exercise, however, and since bringing the tool into the College at the end of 2015, it has already been used to underpin a gap analysis of the College’s 19+ curriculum offer.
Business Planning & Bid Development
Curriculum planning is perhaps one of the more readily apparent uses of Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) in colleges, but Leeds have also seen huge potential in business planning and bid development. The data is being used to gain a high-level overview of the regional economy in terms of jobs, earnings, population, imports and exports, with this information being used to help in business planning activities. In addition to this, the College also sees big potential for using data on labour market demand and future skills needs to underpin key funding bids. As with curriculum planning, this is not just a “nice idea” and in Part 4 we’ll be covering a specific instance of how the College has used intelligence from Analyst to support a bid.
Although the College already has good links with local businesses, it recognises the need to do more to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) achieve their growth ambitions, to sustain strong collaborative links with the network of micro businesses across the city region, and to add value to existing relationships with large employers. Analyst is seen as a vital part of this, with a number of applications:
- Identifying employers that align with the College’s targeted engagement activities (i.e. growth industries & occupations)
- Providing intelligence regarding the skills profile and claimant counts at industry or occupation level, in order to give the College opportunities to help employers better understand the skills profile of their recruitment area and the potential future workforce
- Examining projected industry and occupation change will put the College in a stronger position to support and inform mid-long term business and recruitment strategies by enabling greater alignment with labour market and industry projections
The traditional method colleges have taken to increase their apprenticeship provision has tended to be somewhat of a scattergun approach, with many admitting that their procedures have involved simply picking up a business phone book and ringing through it. However, in the light of the Government’s ambitious plans to deliver three million apprenticeships across the country by 2020, this kind of procedure is just not going to deliver the goods.
Recognising the need to get smarter, the Business Development & Employer Engagement team have implemented a strategy which they believe will enable them to liaise closely with the College’s supply chain and broker new relationships with businesses to develop a pipeline of employers that they can support with apprenticeships. Analyst is playing a key role in this. By deriving intelligence on occupations and industries that are set to grow, and then identifying the key employers in these growth sectors, the team is in a much better position to initiate discussions with businesses regarding the skills and qualities apprentices can contribute towards their growth ambitions.
Marketing and Recruitment
The applications above are all really focused on enhancing the College’s contribution to growth and productivity in the region, yet although they are all undoubtedly crucial, the College is aware that real success depends not just on having better-aligned courses, or better employer engagement, but on attracting people onto those better aligned courses. Once again Analyst data is set to play a key part in this. If demand data can be used to establish that the College needs to put on courses in a particular area, it can also be used to attract people onto those courses by showing them, from the demand, that it is likely to lead them into a sustainable career, and the College is currently setting out plans to use data on job demand, job forecasts and wages to market its courses.
In Part 3, we will look at how the College is using Analyst internally to inform both staff and students.
If you would like more information on how our data can help your college rise to its regional challenges, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.