One of the aims for the Teach Too project was to collaborate with micro-employers of Agriculture, such Sussex Council of Training Providers and local rural businesses, and Horticulture apprentices to prepare students and employers for the new apprenticeship standards and assessments.
With the idea of opening up a ‘two-way-street’ collaboration between employers, training providers and colleges in mind, the need to co-design a specialist induction programme to support apprentices and work-based mentors was realised. The college also worked with GTC, the Greenkeeping Training Company, to put together a curriculum with a view to making occupational expertise accessible to apprentices, and to aid progression with higher-level skills into the contemporary workplace. The final products of this collaborative project will be a suite of learning videos.
A discussion took place between employers in the workplace and Plumpton College, about the new apprenticeship standards, end-point apprenticeship process. This was to collaboratively decide which learning elements would be beneficial for a co-designed induction programme. Employer feedback was then evaluated by the apprenticeship division at Plumpton College, in order to commence designing a curriculum which reflected the skills that employers felt should be included, in order to meet the skills needs of local macro and micro employers of Agriculture. Employers and the college decided that the best mode of delivery would be a suite of learning videos, to embed technological material into the curriculum to prepare students for progression into the future rural economy.
As well as the agreed learning videos as part of the new curriculum, the college also worked with GTC (Greenkeeping Training Company) to co-design a specialist curriculum for a Golf Greenkeeping Apprenticeship Standard. This curriculum was disseminated on the Plumpton College VLE, as well as on an e-Portfolio platform, to meet the skills needs of employers, and ensure the curriculum follows the direction set by the technical and apprenticeship reforms.
Did the project make a difference?
This project had firmly in mind the practice of 'horizon scanning', to identify new skills needed in the field, to prepare students for work in the future rural economy. Plumpton College aims to develop higher-skills within the rural workforce, and allow students progression with a clear line of sight into the contemporary workplace. In co-designing a new curriculum, this means the college is looking forward in its educational journey and the progress education is making, by working closely with small and large employers. This allows colleges such as Plumpton College to consider what modes of delivery are going to be best practice for the future rural economy.
What we learned
Before the project started, the college recognised the need to prepare their students to work in the future rural economy. This problem linked with the principle of horizon scanning to identify future skills and technology, which would allow students to develop a clearer route to the workplace, and understand the skills needed of them within the agricultural industry and the constant developments to this field. In order to work on this problem, the college is using innovative learning technologies to engage with employers, like immersive and interactive video.
The college also realised the importance of engaging small employers with training cycles and processes within education, as well as colleges engaging with employers’ commercial cycles, so that there is better representation of the workplace within curriculum's. What became clear was the importance of two-way-street communication between colleges and the industry, to remove any barriers to student progression.