Using Labour Market Data to Support Ofsted’s ‘Skills Measure'

March 15, 2023 by Mariana Marques

Capital City College Group (CCCG) is London’s largest Further Education group and the third largest in the UK. It has 35 thousand students spread across 10 sites in London, including its three College brands and a Training arm: City and Islington College (CIC), Westminster Kingsway College (WKC), the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), and Capital City College Training (CCCT).

Ofsted's skills measure

The Department for Education (DfE) Skills for Jobs Bill was introduced in June 2021. Following that, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted), A UK governmental body responsible for inspecting educational institutions, announced its 5-year strategy that entailed ‘enhanced’ college inspections, with the addition of two inspection ‘skills nominees’. A key focus of Ofsted inspections is measuring how well providers are able to meet the skills needs of their local labour market through their curriculum. 

For Further Education colleges across the UK, this requires accessing detailed labour market data to support their curriculum review, but also to be able to have solid evidence of their efforts in matching the skills they are teaching to what employers are looking for in their area. 

Preparing for Ofsted's inspection

CCCG successfully completed its full Ofsted inspection in December 2022, with the regulator noting that the College makes ‘extremely good use of labour market data’. For Kurt Hintz, Executive Principal at CCCG, pre-planning was the key stage. This included developing a strong position statement that clearly defines their curriculum strategy, priorities and strategic drivers. 

The College's preparation also involved having ongoing conversations with employers to align its offering to skills needs, and continuously working with stakeholders and work communities to understand the needs of the local economy, which then feeds into the curriculum. But even that is not enough, and CCCG also relied on strong labour market data sources like Lightcast to dive deep into skills trends and job postings in its area.

How Lightcast helped Capital City College Group meet Ofsted’s skills measure 

CCCG uses Lightcast’s Job Postings and Skills data to understand its local labour market and review its curriculum strategy. Lightcast data enables an in-depth overview of local employer demand, that provides more detail than the employers themselves can give. 

By embedding Lightcast data into its curriculum intent document, CCCG was able to easily provide solid evidence and specific information to inspectors. Ofsted judged CCCG to be ‘Good’ in all of its key judgments and provision types. Furthermore, under the new enhanced framework, the college’s contribution to meeting skills needs was acknowledged to be ‘Strong’, the highest rating possible. 

"You can have as many employer network groups or sector boards as you like, but actually, they don’t give you the full and comprehensive knowledge of the whole sector’s needs. The data we get through Lightcast right now is really fantastic because we know exactly the number and frequency of job postings, which is really critical in quickly reacting to meet those needs."

- Kurt Hintz, Executive Principal at CCCG