In Part 2 of this series, we mentioned the huge potential Leeds City College has identified for using Analyst’s Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) in its funding bids. The idea behind this is twofold: using data to identify areas of growth where the College might bid for funds, and secondly using the data in the proposal itself in order to lend a more scientific and credible foundation to the application.
The College took this approach earlier this year as part of a transnational bid for funding from Erasmus+ for KA1 Mobility for VET Learners & Staff. The project aims to provide transnational placements for Leeds City College staff and students, and incorporates a number of curriculum areas, the majority of which either fall within the Leeds City Region priority growth sectors or are some of the largest employment sectors in Leeds City Region. In April, the College was pleased to hear that their application had been accepted, with a total of €650,000 in funding secured (approximately £500,000).
So what part did Analyst play in the bid? According to Rachel Mather, the College’s Research and Bid Development Manager, data from the tool was used to demonstrate how the College links EU placement opportunities with UK national and regional market demand, in order to develop both the employability skills and in-demand skills of students to prepare them for relevant employment opportunities. She comments:
“This helps our students gain an advantage in the UK labour market, as they will have not only the relevant qualifications, but also appropriate knowledge and customer care skills to enable them to work constructively across growth vocational areas.”
The bid also referenced Analyst data in response to a question on how the project would impact the participants, participating organisations and target groups. This commitment to demonstrating impact with good, solid evidence appears to have impressed the bid assessors who commented:
“The application provides strong contextual evidence for the need for the project and how it fits within an established set of processes and procedures … the external impact at all levels has been comprehensively explained.”
More specifically, Analyst data was used in the bid to show how aligning opportunities with growth sectors gives the College the ability to:
- Give students a competitive advantage through skills acquisition to support high growth industries and in-demand occupations
- Support localised and regional economic growth through supplying suitably skilled candidates with relevant industry and occupation work experience
- Work with EU partners to ensure the curriculum and work experience offer meets the demand across participating countries
Throughout this four-part case study, we have seen from Leeds City College some of the most innovative and effective uses of LMI in the FE sector. For the College’s Business Development & Employer Engagement Unit, local and regional data is not so much a necessity as it is an opportunity: an opportunity to improve both internal and external operations; an opportunity to open up and explore new avenues; and ultimately an opportunity to provide a more holistic and more joined up service for the thousands of students, employers and other stakeholders in this dynamic region.