The objective of our two month pilot project was to assist industry in developing tomorrow’s workforce though the creation of exemplar models of learning videos.
Centered in Sussex, this project focused on establishing a high degree of exchange, cooperation and two-way knowledge transfer between major local employers and vocational education teachers.
As the requirement for work-ready and skilled employees grows, major employers have recognised the limitations of current in house training. This has led to them making a commitment to work with Plumpton College in the development of knowledge transfer and skills through the production of learning videos for their employees and their future workforce. These videos will be available to a wide range of current and potential staff, students and employers and will assist in equipping learners with employer ready skills. In addition, employers work with the college to provide practical training in the skills they need for their specialist segment of the horticultural market.
Strategically, the project links teachers with up to date industry needs and cpd opportunities and creates very focussed learning videos suitable for use in the workplace for development and refresher activities as well as within colleges for staff and students.
This project was set up to improve the use of employers’ time by developing training material which could be used prior to employees being deployed on the job. For example, training staff in the planting of trees and amenity wild flower meadows as part of the employer’s initiative to improve the environment.
Through the project, employers have sought to develop a source of work- ready employees who are already familiar with what will be expected of them once they start work. This assists in improving productivity and reduces workforce churn. The project also enables learners who have not had the benefit of higher skill level training to develop an understanding of skills required.
This project provides the strategic test of value and impact of employers directly influencing the content of learning videos and other media. Strategically, the engagement between employer and teachers is crucial to the formulation of materials most appropriate for employees and provided focused cpd opportunities for teaching staff.
Positive impact and expected outcomes
This project continues to allow employers to train their future workforce in their own specialist areas. It assists in ensuring the workforce of tomorrow is prepared for the tasks they will need to perform and the conditions of employment. The project has improved the profile and standing of the college with employers as it has demonstrated the potential a college can bring and how it can enhance the training process.
Strategically this project cements employer commitment and develops a culture of working with education for the development of skills specific roles.
The concept of the project, and the placing of employers at the heart of curriculum planning and delivery, will be expanded to enable other specialist areas to benefit from employer engagement in curriculum design and delivery. Focus will be placed upon areas of horticulture production including herb production, amenity horticulture and soft fruit production.
Recommendations for developing local collaborative arrangements
- Build on employers’ previous contact with the college by furthering links with those who have had a previous positive experience. We have already had 5 requests from new employers to engage with the project after the pilot phase (Part 2)
- Build realistic and achievable time scales into project planning and delivery
- Assist employers with getting what they want as they are creating their workforce of tomorrow
- Use the expertise of the Steering Group to review progress
- Encourage employers to embrace emerging technologies and how these can be used to meet future trends
- Positive engagement from employers
- Employers have found the concept of focussed learning videos will fit well with their business needs
- Future development is already planned as part of Part 2
- The learning videos will continue to be tested with new employers to encourage them to engage with the concept of partnership development of learning materials in bite size portions
- The video are very accessible rung from a web based platform and are short duration (up to 6 minutes each) and have a clear focus on 2 or three tightly focussed learning outcomes
- The videos are designed to be accompanied by differentiates assessment tools which can test learning at a range of levels and be incorporated on the same VLE platform as the videos
- The process for materials development is a cooperation between employers and teachers, building better understanding of training needs and how best to support the development of existing employees and new entrants to the industries
- Employer induction of new entrants will be strengthened by the use of these videos, especially where the videos cover generic employment training, for example, safe manual handling and display screen equipment.
- Testing with employers is part of the part 2 activity
- Video clips and the greater availability of devices and transport modes which have internet connectivity, enhance the student’s and employee’s time to learn when they may be passengers for example, or profitably use that 10 minutes during a break period.