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3 key takeaways: Collaboration and the future of apprenticeships
For the finale in our #FutureOfApprenticeships series of live shows with FE News, we focused on how achieving a culture of collaboration could help to further the success of apprenticeships and foster an even greater sense of trust within the sector.
This was a perfect way to draw the series to a close after exploring several other key topics, including 16-19 year olds, SMEs, the cost of living crisis, learners with SEND and EPA over previous weeks.
The episode featured the following panel of expert speakers:
- Gavin O’Meara, Founder and CEO of FE News
- Suzanne Slater, Director of Operations for Apprenticeships at NCFE
- Stewart Segal, Chair of Youth Employment UK
- Neil Coates - Deputy Principal at London South East Colleges.
Here, we recap three key points from the discussion.
1. Collaboration is the foundation of apprenticeships
Much of the show’s discussion focused on the idea that collaboration is critical to the continued success of apprenticeships. As outlined by Stewart at the top of the show: “Apprenticeship programmes are ones that absolutely require collaboration. It tends to be a four-way programme where you have four key partners – the apprentice themselves, the employer, the training provider and the Government. And unless you've got that collaboration, it isn’t going to work.”
The idea that there is much positive collaboration already occurring was discussed – however, our speakers also questioned where this could go even further.
Suzanne shared that having worked within both FE Colleges and private training providers, she’d like to see these two types of organisations collaborating and working more closely together to open up even more opportunities: “I think it'd benefit employers and I think it'd help us to reach more apprentices in those kinds of far-reaching areas of the UK.
“By doing that, I think we can offer those apprentices the opportunities that they want, instead of them being restricted to what that provider or college might offer.”
2. Building trust is critical
Another idea our panel discussed was how critical trust is to collaboration and apprenticeships. Stewart explained how “a culture of trust enables collaboration to happen”, outlining that this includes trust by the Government and new ministers in the sector to get on with things and to collaborate.
Gavin agreed, saying that “a high trust environment is exactly what we need and goes hand in hand with collaboration.”
It was proposed that as stakeholders, we all must live what we say in order to develop more trust by following through and actioning ideas that we propose. Further ideas for trust-building included more transparency, increased use of data, acknowledging where we are in the sector, and sharing more information that is evidence-based with each other.
3. Examples of collaboration
A significant discussion point was around how we’ll need to collaborate and be more joined up than ever before, as we make our way through the cost of living crisis and enter into a possible recession.
Neil explained how this means we’ll need to be innovative with the funding we’ve already got. He shared a recent example of working collaboratively between London South East Colleges and the Met: “We’re working really closely with the Met Police on supporting the diversity of applications to go into the Met, and the challenge they had with that is when they try and get that diverse network, some of the English skills of these people weren't hitting the requirements to go into what was either a degree apprenticeship a degree – which is the only route into police.”
Neil explained how, as a solution, they were able to sit down together and design a really simple programme around English functional skills in order to upskill these individuals, which the Met were then surprised to learn would be free of charge. There are funding opportunities out there, but it often comes back to collaboration, trust and working together to discover that these exist.
You can hear more from our panel and catch up on the full episode below:
We’d like to say a huge thank you to FE News, our NCFE colleagues who have acted as co-hosts, and to the specialist speakers who joined us to share their expertise on all things apprenticeships throughout this series.
You can still join the conversation by using #FutureOfApprenticeships on social media!
We outline the key points from the third episode in our #FutureOfApprenticeship series with FE News, “Supporting apprentices through the cost of living crisis and beyond”.
We highlight three key takeaways from the fourth episode in our #FutureOfApprenticeship series with FE News, which focused on learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
We outline three key points from the fifth episode in our #FutureOfApprenticeship series with FE News, which looked to explore all things end-point assessment (EPA).