As the largest further education college in Worcestershire, Heart of Worcestershire College (HoW) aims to be the provider of choice for education, training and learning across the county. Among the many principles that drive this vision, the College’s values include developing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to ensure that everyone meets their full potential, and creating the skills to advance the economic and social prosperity of the local community.
In order to achieve these goals, the College’s leadership understands the need for good local data to inform them on the skills needs in their local economy, so that they can react positively in terms of shaping a curriculum that serves this demand, and also in marketing courses to people as a gateway to a sustainable career. For this they turned to Analyst — Emsi’s online Labour Market Insight (LMI) platform, which connects various datasets together to give users instant and unparalleled access to key intelligence on jobs, skills and industries, down to Local Authority levels.
Curriculum planning analysis
Since investing in the tool, the College has used it in a number of different ways to improve their offer. First and foremost is in their curriculum planning analysis, where the data and insights offered by the tool have proven extremely useful in identifying trends in the local labour market, which are then used to assess where changes might need to be made to the related offer. According to Claire Heywood, the College’s Vice Principal Inclusive, Commerical and Employer Learning:
“We use the data in Analyst to highlight both industry and occupation change throughout the county, with reports then sent to all our curriculum managers. By identifying demand, we are able to compare this to our current provision, which has led to a number of incremental curriculum delivery changes. For instance, as a result of seeing the growth of Data Analysis, we have changed our IT skills offer to include new Business Intelligence modules in our computing courses.”
Recent developments to Analyst have incuded the introduction of a new workflow within the tool – FE Analyst – which has been specifically designed for use by those with no particular data expertise (FE Analyst is also available as a standalone platform). What this has meant is that alongside the central curriculum planning, the College has been able to give access to the new workflow to all all curriculum managers, and they are being encouraged to make better use of the data, especially for checking growth in jobs related to their subject areas, which is then included in their SARs.
Yet it is not just curriculum teams that have been using the tool. The College’s Marketing team have also been dipping into the data to produce a full analysis of every course area and related occupations, including salary, expectations, job postings, and growth data. This has allowed them to produce infographics for each course area which will be included in the 2021/22 College Prospectus.
Marketing are also working with their web developer and Emsi developers to introduce an API, which will pull data into the website. This will link careers insights to course pages, so that anyone going onto the site to look for courses that the college offers will automatically be given a wealth of information about relevant jobs and careers.
Expression of Interest
Analyst data is also highly useful when bidding for new funding or the development of new facilities, with the inclusion of insights about specific growth areas often helping to make a compelling case. HoW has recently used insights from Analyst in an Expression of Interest for the creation of a new Institute of Technology, including a College level growth analysis focused on a couple of key areas: engineering and computing/digital.
Measuring impacts and mitigating risks
The crisis of 2020 has clearly caused a huge amount of disruption and HoW, like every college in the country, finds itself operating in a very different environment than at the start of the year. In order to understand what is happening in their area, the College has been using a number of different tools and functions within Analyst.
Firstly, the Regional Response Tool has been used to provide updates to the corporation and management teams regarding the state of the local economy pre-lockdown, and potential post-lockdown impacts. Secondly, Job Posting Analytics have been used to provide reports to the sales and business development teams, highlighting which employers are hiring, so these can be used particularly in apprenticeship opportunities. Thirdly, the occupation data in the tool includes an Exposure to Automation score, and this has been used to provide reports to curriculum managers of the potential risks associated with jobs related to their subject area.
With future plans for the tool including analysis on skills by curriculum and course area, Analyst and FE Analyst have become vital parts in fulfilling the College’s mission. As Claire Heywood commented:
“Analyst is proving to be a critical part of what we’re trying to achieve. Not only does the data offer us the opportunity to assess demand across our local economy, but the new workflow in FE Analyst means that more people across the college can access the data. This can only serve to help us achieve our aim of teaching the skills that are needed in our local economy, and so help to bring prosperity to our community.”
You can download a copy of this case study here. Talk to us now about how Analyst and FE Analyst can help your college teach the skills that bring prosperity to your area.