How to strengthen the future skills landscape

00:00 October 31, 2022

Rachel Bunn, Commercial Director, Projects and Community at East Coast Collegeexamines the measures needed to meet future skills needs.

Skills are regularly brought up and have sometimes felt like a spinning washing machine cycle, with no easy solution to the diversity of problems.

Education service providers have experienced considerable changes such as funding methodology and qualifications reforms, as well as changes in society at large. A college is a skills provider with the aim of supporting pathways to employment, but there is a fundamental shift to focus on a model that relies solely on a qualification outcome.

The skills landscape has evolved to ensure that knowledge, skills and behaviors are embedded in learning.

Rachel Bunn, Business, Projects and Community Manager at East Coast College
– Credit: East Coast College

Validate and shape

The quality of the product will depend on the learning experience as well as how it has been enhanced through employer engagement. Work experience adds value, not only by fostering industry awareness, but by helping students become aware of the business itself.

This is important for those who have not yet formalized their next steps. The employer is key in shaping and inspiring young minds and can help shape their career choices.

East Coast College works with employers on program validation work to ensure content, delivery and additionality meet needs.

Inspire ’em and hang ’em

Where the work of pre-16 year olds is underdeveloped, young people are lost as future employees. Welding tends to be overlooked as a career and is either merged with general engineering or the majority of students have family or friends in the industry.

We need to think about how to minimize skills shortages and prevent the looming skills crisis in the energy sector.

A skills pipeline

The college is also overlooked for recruitment. If the training is validated by the sector, then college training should be considered “pre-employment”, making us the first port of call for recruitment.

Research shows that the better the quality and strength of engagement with potential employees, the more likely recruitment and retention. Students will enjoy the business and see it as a career.

Training after recruitment is also essential. Salary will always be a key element of recruitment; however, an employer should consider what else they can offer.

To meet skills needs, collaboration is essential. Without qualified and experienced staff, there is a risk that East Coast College will not be able to offer the courses our region needs.

So instead of relying on the usual job postings, we see things differently. In some industries, there will be people considering going part-time, as well as companies that may have quieter times.

For those planning supply chain work, social values ​​and the community element become central in decision-making. The college cannot provide a complete solution, but collectively we can strengthen the future skills landscape.