A What’s Next Workshop with local employers, which included Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Russums and City & Guilds, was hosted at University Centre Rotherham (UCR), to update on the project activity to date, discuss further the successes of the project, and what can be done to improve when the programme is implemented across the group’s curriculum.
Teach Too is RNN Group’s pilot project, which incorporates Rotherham College, North Notts College and Dearne Valley College, aiming to develop a new approach to collaborative curriculum planning with local employers, awarding bodies and other stakeholders. The aim of the project is to drive excellence in vocational education and training through collaborative arrangements, encouraging people from industry to spend some time teaching their work, as well as giving employers a direct involvement in designing, planning and developing vocational programmes.
Throughout the programme’s progression, students from Catering and Hospitality courses from Rotherham College have experienced preparing Christmas lunch for representatives of the National Fluid Power Centre (NFPC), as well as a hands-on workshop preparing and creating game dishes from Mark Baines, Chef Sales Manager of Braehead.
Computing and Digital students were also invited to a masterclass on breaking into the digital and gaming industry, which was led by Game Republic, a company that runs the two largest networks in the North of England.
Will Sibley commented on the success of the project and its dependence on employer engagement, saying: “It’s important what we offer our students at Rotherham College and what we’re putting in place to create a high quality course, reflects what both the local employer is looking for in terms of developing a wide skillset. A skillset that not only adapts to the immediate community, but also competes in the national and global markets as a student steps into the world of work.
“By 2024 there will be a potential 2000 additional jobs in the catering and hospitality industry – we want our students we’re currently supporting through that learner journey to confidently secure one of those jobs.”
The workshop also included an introduction to the Group’s Schools Liaison team, who have seen a 54% increase in the delivery of high quality technical programmes within schools, that help prepare young people for the next step in education, between 2017 and 2018.
There was also talks with apprenticeship training provider RNN Training and Andy Birch, Head of Higher Education who represented the Higher Education offering across Rotherham College, North Notts College, Dearne Valley College and UCR.
Andy said, “Employer engagement is essential to be able to acknowledge what local employer’s need, which can then be transferred to develop a competitive curriculum offering. By creating close relationships within the Sheffield City Region, we open a door for our learners to have the opportunity to progress to employment with these same employers.”
Attendees have also been involved in interactive activities during the workshop, which included group discussions on what higher level qualification needs does the sector have locally and what skills do higher level roles require which are not sufficiently developed at lower levels. Additionally what does the curriculum need to do more of in order to provide a locally relevant offer of Higher Education and apprenticeships.
We are always looking for local employer input to ensure our curriculum and placement opportunities are of the highest standards, so if you would like to get involved in the Teach Too project or feel that you can contribute, please call Rebecca Blackburn, Head of Quality on 01709 722874.