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Trail-blazing Hull College Group programme sets standard for employability

A trail-blazing Hull College Group programme to produce work-ready young people to support the growth of the region’s economy has become the first to receive a prestigious accolade.

The Hull College Group Employability Passport has become the first scheme of its kind to be validated by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Working with the region’s education providers and businesses, the LEP has set a Humber standard framework for employability passports, based on the seven key employability skills defined by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Hull College Group is the first skills and training provider to adapt its employability passport to achieve the new Humber LEP standard.

It means the Hull College Group Employability Passport is judged independently to be strongly focused on equipping students with the CBI’s key employability skills, which are:

  • Self-management.
  • Teamwork.
  • Business and customer awareness.
  • Problem solving.
  • Communication and literacy.
  • Application of numeracy.
  • Application of digital technology.

The accolade underlines Hull College Group’s excellent reputation with employers for preparing students for the world of work. 91% of students progress to employment or further study within six months of completing their course.

This reputation was underlined by Hull College Group’s latest Ofsted inspection, held in November 2015, which found the embedding of employability skills was a key strength.
The Ofsted report found:

Learners and apprentices across all types of provision develop very good employability skills. These skills help those without employment to gain work and those with employment to gain greater responsibilities or promotion. The employability passport, which has been created with input from employers, is a highly effective way of helping learners track the skills they are achieving.

Andy Crossland, a member of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Board and Chief Executive of the Humber Learning Consortium, said:

The Humber LEP has gained a national reputation for its focus on skills and I’m delighted Hull College has become the first institution in the region to achieve the LEP kitemark for its employability skills provision.

Working so closely with the region’s businesses, colleges, training providers and university helps us to understand the needs of employers and work with our partners to create a Humber way of working to meet their needs.

Hull College Group Chief Executive Gary Warke MBE, said:

We are proud to be the first training and skills provider in the Humber to align the development of students’ employability skills to the nationally-recognised CBI criteria and the first to gain validation from the Humber LEP.

Employability is at the core of Hull College Group’s culture and curriculum. We are fully focused on equipping students with the core skills to make them work-ready and the personal and professional capabilities for fulfilling careers.

Mapping our curriculum to the seven key skills areas and 22 sub-skills identified by the CBI ensures all our full-time students have the very best opportunity to develop essential employability skills. Qualifications are important, of course, but we know that employers are looking for a broad range of knowledge and skills that equip them to be productive members of the workforce.

Our Employability Passport provides students with those vital skills and gives employers confidence that they will hit the ground running and adjust smoothly from learning to employment.

Hull College Group’s Employability Passport has been delivered to all full-time students aged 16 to 18 since September 2013. In September 2015 Hull College Group launched a new version of the programme, across Hull, Goole and Harrogate colleges, with an enhanced focus on the development of employability skills, to meet the new LEP standard.

Study programmes for all full-time, 16-18-year-old students and some 19-plus students involve participation in a range of activities that enable them to gain the employability skills employers are looking for. All students have an individual learning plan to keep a record of the employability skills and competencies developed during the course of their studies.

Students can achieve the Employability Passport at bronze, silver and gold levels. In addition, the highest-achieving students can attain the Employability Passport and Seal which confirms they meet the criteria for all 22 CBI employability sub-skills and have attendance and punctuality records of at least 98%, as well as GCSEs in maths and English. Over the past year 820 students have achieved the Employability Passport, almost a quarter at the gold level, with 27 attaining the Employability Passport and Seal.

Eighteen-year-old Hull College students Lucy Lancaster and Courtney Richards are among the students to achieve the Employability Passport and Seal while completing successfully a NVQ Level 3 Early Years Educator Diploma.

Lucy, from east Hull, who will now move on to take a HNC in health and social care at Hull College, said:

It really gives me confidence that I can go out to employers with my certificate to prove I have gained skills while at college that make me employable. I’m very proud to have received it.

Armed with her Employability Passport and Seal, Courtney, also from east Hull, is currently applying for nursery and pre-school teaching support roles.

She said:

This definitely puts me in a better position to get a job as it proves I can work as part of a team or independently, I will attend work on time and I can build up relationships with new people at work.

The Humber LEP validation endorses the quality of employability programmes delivered by organisations within the region. To warrant the standard, providers must provide sufficient current evidence to demonstrate that the content, management, implementation, assessment and quality assurance of schemes meet the LEP’s criteria.

The Hull College programme was endorsed by the Humber LEP’s Employability Passport Validation Board which brings together representatives of the LEP, local employers and Humber-based training and skills providers.

The employability passport validation is part of a wider raft of measures put in place by the Humber LEP to improve careers, education, information, advice and guidance and employability skills.

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