South Staffordshire College have become the first and only College in Staffordshire to gain a ‘Fair Train Bronze Award’ in recognition of their commitment to providing learners with access to high quality work experience placements to bolster their studies. This national work experience quality standard accreditation is awarded to those who recognise the value of providing high quality work experience schemes and are helping to drive down youth unemployment through skills development.
Rightly proud of the the College’s achievement, Director of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement Julie Sizer says “It is well known that work placements play a crucial role in preparing today’s learners for the working world, equipping them with the practical skills and experience they need to become a valuable member of the workforce. At South Staffordshire College, we recognise this and work tirelessly to ensure that our learners are given the best possible opportunities while studying with us. We’re delighted to have achieved this accolade and look forward to working towards achieving our Gold Award.”
The evidence to support why South Staffordshire College has achieved this prestigious award speaks for itself. Working with over 1000 local and regional businesses, in sectors including Animal Care, Agriculture, Health and Social Care and Hairdressing, the College’s extensive employer relationships mean their learners have access to a wide variety of placements that are tailored specifically to their goals and aspirations, helping them develop industry specific skills.
Breaking the confines of a ‘traditional’ 1 week placement, learner’s at the College undertake a variety of placements, spanning weeks or even months. Just last week a group of learners who are working towards qualifications in Film and TV and Journalism have completed a five month placement that saw them film and create a promotional video for Charity U3A. The charity, who have over 300,000 members across the country, are a unique organisation who deliver life-enhancing, life-changing opportunities to retired and semi-retired people.
As is evident in this example, the College also consider it a key priority that placements not only aid the progression of learners, potentially leading on to paid employment in their chosen field, but also provide businesses with a positive outcome too; providing access to a wealth of young talent with fresh ideas and enthusiasm and filling skills gaps. A strategy which according to feedback appears to be working.
“The students have been a pleasure to work with, being proactive and professional in communication and attending events. They’ve given me great encouragement for developing and expanding outreach to include other departments.”
Employer – John Winter, Tamworth Phoenix American Football Club
With skills development being so high on the agenda in Staffordshire, this ‘Fair Train’ accreditation could not have come at a more significant time, and the College’s Chief Executive Principal Graham Morley adds “From my conversations with businesses, access to people with the appropriate skills is increasingly the biggest issue they face. It is therefore imperative for us to contribute to overcoming skills gaps, both to ensure the future economic vibrancy of our county and also to provide individuals with the opportunity to achieve personal advancement. I’m thrilled that the work experience opportunities we have been providing to our learners and business partners have not only been recognised with the ‘Fair Train’ award, but are also contributing more widely to the Staffordshire skills agenda.”
In addition to work experience placements for full-time learners, South Staffordshire College also work with businesses to deliver a huge variety of Traineeships and Apprenticeships, all of which equip tomorrow’s workforce with the skills they need to embark on rewarding careers in the industry they love.
To find out more about studying at South Staffordshire College and for more information about the range of full and part time courses and apprenticeships on offer, visit: www.southstaffs.ac.uk or call 0300 456 2424.
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