There are currently a number of different agendas and policies that require Further Education providers to demonstrate the connection between their provision and employer demand in their local economy. At the heart of these initiatives sits a fundamental question: are you teaching the skills that will make your learners more employable and your community more prosperous?
It’s all about skills, skills, skills
This emphasis on meeting local skills demand is very clearly set out in the Ofsted Framework, with the Skills Inspection Handbook calling for providers to produce a curriculum which:
“…offers learners the knowledge and skills that reflect the needs of the local and regional context… The curriculum intent takes into account the needs of learners, employers, and the local, regional and national economy, as necessary.”
This message was then amplified in the Further Education reforms proposed in last year’s Skills for Jobs white paper – soon to become law – which sets out how the sector can support people in getting the skills they need to succeed and for their local economies to prosper:
“Local Skills Improvement Plans will support this by bringing employers, colleges and other providers, and local stakeholders together to set out the key changes needed to make technical skills training more responsive to employers’ skills needs.”
More recently, the same theme of ensuring skills provision is meeting the needs of local businesses was set out as part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda:
“We will also step up efforts to give all students the skills employers need. Our reforms will aim to put local employers at the heart of skills provision; to strengthen locally accessible institutions, notably the national network of further education colleges.”
In the light of these agendas and initiatives, it is a clear necessity for colleges and training providers to understand how their provision aligns with the skills needs of their local economy, particularly as it is also an explicit part of funding criteria, such as The Strategic Development Fund, as well as part of the accountability agreements proposed within the context of Local Skills Improvement Plans. However, turning this necessity into reality is far from easy, since understanding the dynamics of course supply in relation to jobs and skills demand is something that seemingly requires the deployment of a team of expert data analysts. Or does it?
Introducing Curriculum Insight
Our mission is to use our data and product expertise to find solutions to these sorts of questions, and we’re delighted to announce that after months of research and development into finding a solution for this particular question, we’ve developed a tool we’re confident will be a huge help for any college or training provider seeking to understand and demonstrate how well their supply of courses is aligned to the jobs and skills needs of their local community.
Curriculum Insight is an interactive dashboard which brings together Department for Education achievements data with our Labour Market Insight and Job Posting Analytics, in order to help providers answer this question. With an overview of regional jobs and skills demand, a supply and demand assessment for both institutional and regional FE provision, plus a deep dive into how SSA1 courses relate to local recruitment demand, jobs, industries, employers, and skills, the dashboard provides a quick and simple way of gaining an understanding of skills provision in relation to skills demand — with no data expertise needed.
To find out more about how Curriculum Insight can help you demonstrate Curriculum Intent and Impact to Ofsted, particularly in the light of Skills for Jobs and Levelling Up, go to our dedicated page where you can get free access to a demo site to check out the dashboard for yourself.