In its 2025 Strategic Vision, South Staffordshire College (SSC) set out an ambition of supporting the future prosperity and economic vibrancy of its region through high quality training and support. A vital part of being able to fulfill this is the ability to produce a curriculum which supplies the skills that local employers need, and to help them understand and respond to that demand the College uses Lightcast’s Labour Market Insight platform, Analyst.
Lightcast data and the curriculum planning cycle
SSC’s curriculum planning season kicks off with curriculum managers using Analyst to identify regional employer demand for their subject area. Although this might sound daunting, the platform has been designed with those who aren’t data experts in mind, with courses mapped to related jobs, and with the data easily accessible through a number of simple reports, which are detailed below. The findings are then presented at a meeting with the Assistant Principal for Quality and Curriculum, and a Lightcast Account Manager, and between them they use these insights to agree key recommendations for amendments to the curriculum.
Curriculum managers begin by using the Curriculum Overview report to get a high level overview of demand for their subject area, and this includes a time series of past and projected employer demand in the region, the number of achievements for the college and other regional providers, and the number of annual openings for related jobs. The ability to understand how achievements relate to associated local job openings is particularly vital, as it enables SSC to identify where there might be room to grow some parts of the curriculum, or a need to scale back others.
The next report – Course Design – takes curriculum managers deeper into the data, looking at aspects of demand either for whole subject areas or individual courses, including related occupations, job titles, local employers, and skills. Using this data enables them to understand potential opportunities for the inclusion of new courses or modules in their curriculum area, an example of which was the identification of demand for public liability as specialist skill in Construction, which prompted the inclusion of it in courses alongside trade skills.
Jobs and Skills Demand
The final report used by SSC curriculum managers is Jobs and Skills Demand, which shows how employer demand for jobs and skills in the region is treding over time. This is very much about understanding the ‘here and now’ of the employment landscape, which the college finds particularly useful in terms of its adult provision, as it gives them a steer on which jobs are currently available, so helping them direct people into the right training for sought-after jobs.
SSC’s Assistant Principal for Quality and Curriculum, Karen Turley, says that Analyst has now become an essential part of the college’s curriculum planning, along with a number of other activities which are vital to its mission.
Our vision of supporting the future prosperity and economic vibrancy of our region means having a curriculum that is geared to meeting the needs of local businesses. The quality and granularity of the insight Analyst offers us enables us to achieve this, and in addition we’ve also used the data to support our employer engagement and a number of successful funding bids.
To find out how we can help your college in its Curriculum Planning, get in touch today.