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					Provision, progression
and partnership
Provision, progression
and partnership
This eBook features a selection of 50 project ‘case studies’ that illustrate the variety of work
delivered and funded over the last three years by Progress South Central, the Lifelong
Learning Network for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey. We are a
partnership of universities and colleges working to develop and support progression for
vocational students into and through higher education. More information about our work
can be found on our web pages at
Our work has been focused on four vocational sectors:
••   Construction and the built environment
••   Creative industries
••   Health and Social Care
••   Land-based industries
In addition, we are working across all sectors on projects relating to:
••   IAG
••   14–19 Diplomas
••   Progression to HE for apprentices
••   Staff development
••   Raising learner awareness
••   Employer engagement
••   Work-based learning
••   Research
Progress South Central is funded by HEFCE until July 2011.
Please note that the case studies represent the ‘state of play’ with the projects concerned
at the time of completion of Progress South Central’s involvement with them. In many cases,
work may have subsequently continued beyond the LLN’s involvement with the project.
Information on the current state of play should be sought from the contact addresses given,
where appropriate, at the end of the case study. Dates refer either to the date of the event,
in the case of one-off events, or the end date of the project in the case of longer projects.

                                  Construction and the built environment            5
                                  ASNs for Foundation degree in Construction Management            5
                                  Development of a Foundation degree in Construction Management          6
                                  Support for Technical Report Route candidates for ICE membership 6
                                  Trip to the ‘Constructionarium’     7

                                  Creative industries 9
                                  ‘Creative Minds Creative Futures’            9
                                  Entrepreneurial and business skills for the performing arts     10
                                  Two Foundation degrees in the performing arts         11
                                  Creative Portal 12
                                  HE Experience Days        12

                                  Health and social care     14
                                  Raising aspirations in vocational areas      14
                                  Domiciliary Care Services progression pathway 15
                                  CPD Level 4 module for the work-health trainer role        16
                                  Launch event for the Diploma in Leadership in multi-agency settings    17
                                  ‘Maintaining mental health in children and young people’ 18

                                  Land-based industries 19
                                  BSc top-up in animal biology and conservation         19
                                  Progression agreement for the BSc (Hons) Animal Science at the University
                                  of Reading 20
                                  Research Skills School for FE students studying land-based subjects   21
                                  FE Open Day for land-based staff        22
                                  Land-based industries in action     24

                                  14–19 Diplomas 26
                                  ‘Progression Potential’    26
                                  ‘The new Diplomas – Learner Voice in Surrey’ 27
                                  14–19 Diplomas as routes to HE          27
                                  ‘The 14–19 Dimension – Diplomas and Diversity’ 28

                                  Progression to HE for apprentices         30
                                  Advanced Apprentices – progression to higher education          30
                                  Research into attitudes and aspirations to HE with apprentices employed by
                                  Oxford Brookes University 31
IAG   33
An investigation into the information, advice and guidance (IAG) provided
for Year 11 students regarding their post-16 options 33
‘Changing Routes to Higher Education’ 34
‘Flexible Access Routes and Admissions to HE’ 35
Art factor forum 36

Staff development 38
Professionalising admission to higher education in further education    38
Bursary scheme for HE in FE     39
Learning advice in community settings    40
Valuing the support worker role – care, commitment, development        40

Raising learner awareness 42
Mentoring for progression – prison mentoring (pilot)      42
Mentoring for progression – working with training providers 43
Enrichment sessions: Oxford Brookes University and partner colleges      44
Oxford Brookes University mentoring scheme       45

Employer engagement      47
Sponsorship of business lunch    47
Seminar on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships      47
‘Develop your workforce: employer’s guide to higher education’ 48
Higher level skills workshops for Train to Gain brokers     49
CPD framework for NHS staff employed in bands 1– 4          50

Work-based learning     51
University Centre Aylesbury Vale 51
‘Progression via work-based learning’ 51
‘Building Bridges’ 53
HE management learning for the building services engineering sector 54
Support for work-based learning: a package for work-based mentors of Fd
students in the health and social care sector 55

Research    57
Higher education for Slough and East Berkshire – reaching the right learners
with the right provision 57
An ethnographic study of vocational students in FE     58
What makes work experience work? 59

                                  Construction and the
                                  built environment
                                  ASNs for Foundation degree in
                                  Construction Management
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Oxford Brookes University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Kier Group


                                  Project summary
                                  Progress South Central allocated Additional Student Numbers (ASNs) to Oxford Brookes
                                  University in 2008–09 to support the first year of their newly-developed Foundation degree
                                  (Fd) in Construction Management. The Fd was developed by the University’s School of the
                                  Built Environment in conjunction with a large employer, Kier Group, and was successfully
                                  accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). This project supported good practice
                                  in the development of work-based learning, as the curriculum and learning outcomes of the
                                  Foundation degree were designed in collaboration with Kier and the programme was tailored
                                  towards modern contractors who were already working in the industry.
                                  This Foundation degree was designed in an innovative way, with students studying via distance
                                  learning while receiving support through Brookes Virtual Gateway and with four residential
                                  visits throughout the year. In between the residential course visits, students received weekly
                                  support from a Kier mentoring programme. In terms of progression opportunities, it was
                                  envisaged that successful students would have the opportunity to progress to Oxford
                                  Brookes’ BSc (Hons) Construction Management at the end of their Fd.
                                  Learner demand for the new Fd had been identified by the CIOB and by ConstructionSkills,
                                  the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry. The development formed part of a
                                  planned expansion of construction activity across the South East.

                                  35 FTE ASNs were allocated for the Foundation degree and 47 part-time learners began
                                  the programme in January 2008. All of the first cohort of students were Kier employees.
                                  36 students progressed successfully to the second year of the Fd in January 2009.
                                  As Progress South Central received an ASN allocation for 2008–09 only, only the first
                                  cohort of students on this FdSc could be funded by the LLN. Subsequent cohorts have been
                                  supported via Oxford Brookes’ HEFCE-funded Employer Engagement project.

                                  For more information
                                  Oxford Brookes University School of the Built Environment                                                                                                5
    Development of a Foundation degree in
    Construction Management
    Lead organisation
    Aylesbury College

    October 2008

    Project summary
    Progress South Central supported Aylesbury College in their development of a new
    Foundation degree in Construction Management, both with funding and with brokerage
    activity in engaging professional advice from the CIOB.
    The overall aim was to research, develop and write a programme to meet the growth needs
    of the construction industry in North Buckinghamshire and, after much initial research by
    the working party at Aylesbury College, the decision was taken to develop a programme
    specifically in Construction Management.
    Advice was sought from the CIOB in relation to both the course programme and in relation
    to the appropriate timing to seek accreditation with CIOB. Suggestions made by the CIOB’s
    representative were incorporated into the course programme.

    The Foundation degree was successfully validated in 2008. The outcome is a programme
    designed totally to meet local and industry needs.

    For more information
    Aylesbury College

    Support for Technical Report Route candidates
    for ICE membership
    Lead organisation
    Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

    March 2009

    Project summary
    This project set out to support the Technical Report Route (TRR) to professional membership
    of the ICE for those who possess the relevant industrial experience but who lack the
    necessary academic background.
    Within civil engineering, membership of the ICE is recognised as an international standard of
    quality and allows a civil engineer to practise in most countries of the world. The Technical
    Report Route to CEng and IEng status has been established by the ICE in recognition of
    the fact that there are people working in all parts of the construction industry doing work
    normally assigned to Incorporated or Chartered Engineers who do not have the appropriate
    formal qualification, often because they lack the necessary academic background. The project
    allowed the ICE to promote this route to professionally qualified membership to a number of
    companies and candidates in Progress South Central’s region and to explore the barriers to
    progression via this route.

                                  Engagement of local employers of potential TRR candidates formed the first stage of the
                                  project and the ICE engaged employers both through direct contact of known employers
                                  and through advertising TRR workshops to all local members. Identification and induction of
                                  potential candidates then proceeded, either through encouragement of employees by engaged
                                  employers or via two presentations on the TRR route held in Guildford and Reading, which
                                  were then followed by discussions with interested individuals. Mentors were identified through
                                  contacts with local employers and through correspondence and meetings with potential
                                  candidates. A workshop entitled “The role of the TRR mentor” was offered in Reading and
                                  attended by fourteen potential mentors.
                                  The project team clarified, for each potential candidate, the appropriate route for them
                                  towards IEng and/or CEng and gave advice and encouragement relevant to their chosen goal.
                                  Eligible candidates for the TRR were encouraged to prepare and submit their applications.
                                  Monitoring of potential candidates was carried out via telephone, e-mail and meetings.

                                  33 employer organisations actively engaged with the project.
                                  39 candidates were identified as suitable for the TRR to ICE membership, nearly double the
                                  number targeted at the outset of the project. Some of these had HNC or HND qualifications
                                  while the others held degrees in subjects not formally approved for ICE membership. The
                                  candidates were employed by organisations spread across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire,
                                  Oxfordshire and Surrey and possessed between 6 and 31 years experience in the industry.
                                  A total of 36 mentors were identified through the course of the project, 34 of whom were
                                  assigned to support one or more TRR candidates.
                                  Seven candidates were expected to submit their stage 1 TRR applications in March or April
                                  2009 with a further 14 likely to submit their applications over the course of the summer. The
                                  remaining 18 indicated that they needed more time to prepare but did intend to progress. The
                                  main barrier to progression for the candidates concerned, identified through interviews with
                                  candidates and mentors, is likely to be time management, given that these candidates have
                                  heavy responsibility for current projects, which can make it a challenge for them to find time
                                  to prepare their applications for TRR. Unfamiliarity with ICE requirements for demonstrating
                                  understanding of engineering principles through work experience is another potential barrier,
                                  which this project attempted to compensate for through dedicated workshops.
                                  The following attest to the success of this project:
                                  •• Targets set for all specified outcomes have been exceeded
                                  •• Awareness of the potential of the TRR has increased with employers and individuals in the
                                     Thames Valley area
                                  •• The project has encouraged 51 new people to come forward and seek professional
                                     recognition, most by TRR but some by more traditional routes
                                  •• The ICE has been able to clarify the most common barriers to progression via the TRR
                                     and will be able to address those issues in its future programmes

                                  For more information
                                  Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

                                  Trip to the ‘Constructionarium’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Oxford & Cherwell Valley College

                                  October 2008                                                                                                7
    Project summary

    One of Progress South Central’s most exciting ventures in its first year was to fund the
    development of an innovative collaboration between one of its partner colleges, Oxford and
    Cherwell Valley College (OCVC) and the Constructionarium at the National Construction
    College East at Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
    Constructionarium is a unique hands-on construction experience for students and young
    professionals. It takes the form of a week-long field course which is usually delivered through
    the partnership of a contractor, a university and a consultant. Over the course of the week,
    students construct scaled-down versions of one of a number of projects which have been
    chosen by the university. Projects available include the Ravenspurn Oil Platform, which is
    constructed in dry dock, and then floated into and secured in the middle of a lake, the Millau
    cable bridge, and a 40ft replica of 30 St Mary Axe in London, otherwise known as the Gherkin.
    Students are assessed on the final day in terms of budgetary control, methodology and timely
    completion of their project.
    In October 2008, funded by Progress South Central, OCVC sent a small group of Level 3
    Built Environment students to participate in a Constructionarium project alongside a group of
    undergraduate civil engineering students from the University of Greenwich. This was the first
    time any FE students had attended the Constructionarium and it created a huge amount of
    interest in the construction education community. The site was visited during the week by Nick
    Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, who is also President of the Constructionarium.

    The course gave the students a fantastic insight into the challenges and opportunities of
    higher level study in their chosen field, the opportunity to discuss both university life and
    undergraduate study with current HE students, and the rare experience of working on site
    with real contractors.

    For more information

                                  Creative industries
                                  ‘Creative Minds Creative Futures’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Bucks New University

                                  February 2009

                                  Project summary

                                  In February 2009, the Faculty of Creativity and Culture at Bucks New University hosted
                                  a one day conference ‘Creative Minds: Creative Futures’. This event was intended to give
                                  students a ‘taster’ of how creative talents could be turned into productive employment, to                                                                                                9
                     raise the profile of arts-based careers and the need for creative graduates, to raise awareness
                     of undergraduate opportunities and to look at new ways of working with technologies. The
                     event included presentations by some influential and inspirational professionals, including
                     presentations from inventor Trevor Baylis and presenter and songwriter Tom Robinson, and
                     a panel that included Nik Powell, Director of the National Film Institute, Leslie Morris, Head
                     of Design Skills at the Design Council and Yasmin Sidhwa, Head of Arts Education at Pegasus
                     Theatre, Oxford.
“how people          Following the conference, a short promotional film was produced, encapsulating key messages
 like me with a      and responses from the conference. The aim was to showcase work in the creative industries
                     and the benefits of HE.
 positive attitude   Impact

 and ambition can    Over 200 FE and HE students attended the conference. Of those who returned feedback,
                     90% rated the day as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Most of the sessions had high rates of positive
 achieve anything”   feedback, with Trevor Baylis’ keynote talk and the various workshops receiving the highest
                     ratings. The conference’s audience appears to have been successfully targeted, with over 90%
                     of delegates feeling that it had been relevant to them. Most respondents also agreed that they
                     now felt more confident about finding a career in the creative industries.
                     One delegate commented that what had inspired them the most about the day was seeing
                     “how people like me with a positive attitude and ambition can achieve anything”.

                     Entrepreneurial and business skills for
                     the performing arts
                     Lead organisation
                     Strode’s College

                     December 2008

                     Project summary
                     This one-day event set out to provide students hoping to work in the Performing Arts
                     industry with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills within the areas of finance,
                     marketing and business planning. The aim was for the students to develop a basic level of
                     understanding of finance, marketing and business skills which could later be applied either to
                     further training at HE level or to the workplace, or towards becoming self-employed within
                     the industry. The day featured three lecture/workshop sessions focusing on training, finance
                     and freelance work, led by professionals from within the industry.

                     The students who attended were studying a range of AS-level, A-level and BTEC courses in
                     creative subjects. 32 students provided feedback on their experiences of the day. All three
                     workshops were highly rated by the students. All but two of the students said that they had
                     learned something new about how they could progress to HE, and almost as many said that
                     they had learned new things that could help them achieve their career goals. All but one of
                     the students rated the day ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ overall.
                     The numbers of students who felt well prepared to make applications to HE increased
                     following the day’s event. Before the event, only 6% of the students indicated before the event
                     that they felt well prepared to make applications to HE, whereas this had risen to 22% after
                     the event.

                                  The aspects of the day that students found most useful were:
                                  •• Getting information about courses and colleges – this included clarification of the different
                                     between drama schools and university
                                  •• ‘Reality of the industry’ – one student commented that it had been valuable to know that
                                     “it is hard work ahead of me and I need to be dedicated”
                                  •• The chance to talk to people and hear their experiences
                                  Strode’s College have commented that both this event and the later event held in July 2009
                                  “have been a great opportunity for our students to explore career options and experience
                                  working with practitioners from the industry”.

                                  Two Foundation degrees in the performing arts
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Amersham & Wycombe College

                                  July 2008

                                  Project summary
                                  Progress South Central contributed funding to support the development of two new
                                  Foundation degrees at Amersham and Wycombe College, as part of a wider reworking of
                                  Level 4/5 provision at the College and specifically the replacement of HNDs with Foundation
                                  degrees. The HND courses offered formerly all required reworking to take into consideration
                                  changes both in educational practice and in the evolving employment world. The rationale
                                  for Progress South Central’s decision to fund this curriculum development was a desire to
                                  support employer engagement and the reworking of curriculum based on employer needs.
                                  The new Foundation degrees in Acting for New Media and in Musical Theatre were
                                  developed by the School of Higher Education Performing Arts at Amersham and Wycombe
                                  College and validated by Bucks New University. Developmental activity took place from
                                  September 2007 to April 2008 and the new Foundation degree was validated in June 2008.
                                  There was significant employer engagement in the development of these Foundation degrees.
                                  Among the industry professionals who made contributions that informed the development
                                  were the Independent Theatre Commission, the National Film & Television School, Equity,
                                  the Society of London Theatre and the Theatrical Management Association, as well as several
                                  notable individuals in the musical theatre world.                                                                                                 11
     Both Foundation degrees were successfully validated in 2008 and recruited their first cohorts
     for the 2008–09 academic year. 13 students enrolled on the first cohort of the Foundation
     degree in Acting for New Media, 10 of whom progressed to their second year in 2009–10.
     25 students enrolled as part of the Fd Musical Theatre’s first cohort in 2008–09, all of whom
     progressed to their second year in 2009–10. The BA (Hons) Musical Theatre offered at
     Amersham and Wycombe College is the expected progression route for those students who
     wish to progress further, although the BA is also expected to attract external applicants.

     For more information
     Amersham & Wycombe College

     Creative Portal
     Lead organisation
     Progress South Central

     Additional organisations involved
     Bubble Creative Solutions

     March 2011

     Project summary
     The Creative Portal was developed in response to research carried out by the University for
     the Creative Arts (UCA) .
     The research investigated what resources were already available to prospective students,
     parents and teachers seeking information about the creative industries. It revealed a mass of
     relevant information from a vast range of sources: professional bodies, sector skills councils,
     government departments, education, social networking, careers and marketing, all of which
     combined to offer a disjointed and confusing picture. People ‘didn’t know where to start’, ‘had
     no idea at all’ and ‘didn’t know how to find information or who to approach’. aims to solve this problem by focusing on the most relevant and
     up-to-date information available online. Users of will be directed
     to websites which offer information, advice and guidance as well the personal stories of
     practitioners. We hope that being informed about the range of career opportunities and
     available courses in the creative industries will encourage future generations to pursue
     a creative pathway.
     The Creative Portal is due to be launched on 1 March 2011.

     For more information

     HE Experience Days
     Lead organisation
     Bucks New University

     2008–09; 2009–10

                                    Project summary
“It was a
 very positive
 experience for the
 students and they
 really benefited
 from the day.”

                                    Four Higher Education ‘Experience Days’ were delivered at Bucks New University during
                                    2008–09 and 2009–10 for students from local colleges.
                                    The Experience Days were developed to give Level 3 vocational college students a realistic
                                    experience of what it is like to study in a university setting. The days were aimed at students
                                    studying creative arts subjects and have offered students the chance to participate in
                                    workshops run by professionals, including ‘Music Management and Production’, ‘Performing
                                    Arts’, ‘Graphic Arts and Advertising’, ‘TV and Film’ and ‘Textiles and Surface Design’.
                                    Over 100 students in total attended the days. Attendees were from Aylesbury College
                                    and Uxbridge College and were mainly studying BTEC National Diplomas in various
                                    creative subjects.

                                    98% of those feeding back felt that they now knew more about HE having attended the
                                    Experience Day, and 97% stated that the day had helped them decide to go on to higher
                                    education. 96% rated the day overall as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’.
                                    One Lecturer in Graphic Design from Aylesbury College saw at first hand how the students
                                    benefited from the experience:
                                    “It was a very positive experience for the students and they really benefited from the day.”
                                    One BTEC National Diploma student from Aylesbury College who chose to do the Graphic
                                    Design and Advertising workshop had not been sure what to expect but said later:
                                    “It was an amazing day and now I am sold on going to university. It was really great to be able
                                    to talk to the tutors. The Student Ambassador who accompanied us really helped us to feel
                                    comfortable and didn’t gloss over the realities of university life. We were going to have to work hard
                                    to get the results we wanted. I thoroughly enjoyed the practical aspect of the day and getting real
                                    hands-on experience of a printing press”.
                                    Another Aylesbury College National Diploma student was surprised at the variety of
                                    pathways available that she had not considered before:
                                    “The tutors explained things really well and made me feel that getting a degree was attainable. I
                                    was worried about how I was going to afford to go to university but I now realise the opportunities
                                    a degree will bring me outweighs this. I would recommend the University Experience Day to anyone
                                    thinking about higher education; it will open your eyes to a new world of opportunity”.                                                                                                       13
     Health and social care
     Raising aspirations in vocational areas
     Lead organisation
     East Berkshire College

     September 2009

     Project summary
     This project, delivered in 2008–09, aimed to provide a variety of support measures to
     raise students’ career aspirations with regard to progression to higher education. It focused
     specifically on learners following programmes in Health and Social Care and aimed to raise
     awareness of HE as a realistic and achievable progression option. The goal set at the outset
     was to increase the number of learners progressing from programmes in these subject areas
     to HE programmes in 2009–10.
     The project involved the following activities:
     •• A three-hour introduction to UCAS applications, delivered to 42 Health and Care
     •• A tutorial delivered by a Student Adviser to 18 second-year Level 3 Health Studies
     •• One-to-one support with the application process and personal statements was offered to
        19 learners during two tutorials, after which the learners dropped in to student services
        to see the Adviser as needed. 16 learners made use of this drop-in service and sought
        additional help and guidance with the application process.
     •• Support was also provided to 8 learners with completing applications for HE funding.
        One learner, a single mother, was supported beyond the end of her course with finding
        solutions to financial barriers.
     •• A tutor information pack on applying to HE was developed and made available from
        Student Services.
     •• Time was spent with the Health Studies tutor, who was new to the role, providing
        guidance on the application procedure and how it works in the college.
     •• Tutorials were delivered to 20 Level 2 students explaining the benefits of volunteering in
        building experience and a robust Personal Statement. Five of the learners subsequently
        took up voluntary roles in the college, three being elected as tutor group representatives
        and two becoming e-mentors.

     20 of the 21 Level 3 Health Studies learners applied to HE for 2009–10 and 15 were
     successful (79%). This represents an 82% increase in applications on the previous year. 16 of
     the 20 applicants accessed IAG services to assist them with their applications.
     As a result of this project, links with the Health, Care and Education Pathways tutors and
     teaching staff improved significantly, which in turn resulted in the benefit to learners of having
     multiple sources of help and support with their UCAS applications.
     UCAS awareness training is now offered to curriculum staff under the cross-college staff
     development package and will be delivered on a regular basis through elective workshops and
     on demand.

     For more information
     East Berkshire College

                                  Domiciliary Care Services progression pathway
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Dynamic Training UK Ltd

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Skills for Care

                                  April 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  This project aimed to develop a progression pathway specific to the Domiciliary Care Sector,
                                  commencing with induction and leading to Level 3, with a progression pathway to HE. The
                                  project was regionally-focused, covering Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey.
                                  Following consultation with Skills for Care, part of the Sector Skills Council for social care,
                                  children and young people, research was carried out to obtain an accurate picture of the
                                  training and development needs of the domiciliary care workforce in the current climate.
                                  As part of the research phase of the project, 158 questionnaires were distributed to
                                  Domiciliary Care agencies across the region. Additionally, all Local Authorities in the region
                                  were consulted, as well as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey Care Associations, the
                                  UKHCA (UK Homecare Association), the National Skills Academy, Skills for Care and Skills
                                  for Health. Additionally, working groups were held across the region attended by a number
                                  of external agencies.
                                  Skills for Care’s Sector Qualifications Strategy highlights the expected increase over the next
                                  20 years in users of publicly-funded social care and addresses the issue of how the social
                                  care workforce could be remodelled to meet the increased demand. As of April 2010, all
                                  domiciliary care workers are required to complete the Level 2 NVQ in Health and Social
                                  Care, but these are being replaced with the new QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework)
                                  Level 2 qualification in Health and Social Care. The current project clarified the role of
                                  domiciliary care workers and the skills required for them to be competent in the tasks of the
                                  role. The project team also mapped the units for the draft Health and Social Care QCF at
                                  Levels 2 and 3 to the findings from the qualitative research, to identify and highlight any gaps.

                                  The mapping exercise identified a number of gaps in the draft units for the new QCF Level 2
                                  qualification in Health and Social Care, but it is anticipated that these will be filled sufficiently
                                  once the rules of combination are finalised. The results of the project suggest that some units
                                  at Level 3 might be desirable in order for domiciliary care workers to fully demonstrate their
                                  competence for autonomous, lone working. Some of the agencies consulted did feel that a
                                  Level 3 qualification would benefit staff, but also noted that budgetary considerations were
                                  likely to preclude non-essential training. However, the QCF does offer an individual the option
                                  of undertaking a percentage of their qualification at another level, meaning that conceivably a
                                  Domiciliary Carer could undertake a full Level 2 qualification with some Level 3 units included.
                                  Recommendations were identified for both commissioners and employers and a draft
                                  progression pathway was developed. Dynamic Training UK were due to finalise the mapping
                                  exercise once the QCF programmes were finalised and develop a user-friendly tool for
                                  employers and learners to navigate the programme effectively.
                                  The UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) identified that they would like to continue this
                                  work with their members, which is likely to be of considerable benefit to the domiciliary
                                  care sector.

                                  For more information
                                  Dynamic Training UK Ltd                                                                                                     15
     CPD Level 4 module for the
     work‑health trainer role
     Lead organisation
     Dynamic Training UK Ltd

     Additional organisations involved
     Thames Valley University; Berkshire East Primary Care Trust

     April 2010

     Project summary
     Progress South Central provided funding to support the development of the new role of
     Work Health Trainer, part of the ‘Slough Working Better’ project, one of ten Advancement
     Network Prototypes across England that were being used to shape the new adult
     advancement and careers service. The health ‘Test Bed’ represented a major opportunity
     to implement the aspirations of key national initiatives including pathways to work, fit
     for work pilots and compulsory health assessments for ESA (Employment and Support
     Allowance) claimants.
     The innovative role of ‘Work Health Trainer’ was designed to provide an integrated service
     between employment and health services to facilitate early intervention and to provide help
     and support to individuals, enabling them to better manage their health and wellbeing with a
     view to returning to work or sustaining meaningful activity. The Work Health Trainers operate
     from GP surgeries and take referrals from organisations such as Shaw Trust , thereby forming
     a new trial outlet for careers information and advice in Slough.
     Progress South Central provided funding for Phase 3 of the Test Bed project, which supported
     partners to develop and accredit a CPD Level 4 module as a necessary resource to train
     current health professional employees of Berkshire East Primary Care Trust to become Work
     Health Trainers. The training for this specialist role develops the skills and knowledge necessary
     to understand the barriers to learning and work faced by those with ill health. The module
     itself was written by Thames Valley University and incorporated blended learning, as well as
     access for all learners to an online work health trainer library.

                                  A scoping exercise was carried out into the requirements of the Work Health Trainer role
                                  and the Level 4 module was then written and validated. The module sits within a progression
                                  pathway leading from Health Activist at Level 1 through to the CPPD in Applied Positive
                                  Psychology (Health and Social Care settings) at Level 7.

                                  The organisations involved reported that the support from Progress South Central enabled
                                  the smooth running of Phase 3 of the wider project and the creation of the online resource
                                  using Blackboard, and also enabled the use of expert input to ensure a robust training package.
                                  The subsequent phase of the wider project, Phase 4, aimed to train nine health trainers for the
                                  new role of Work Health Trainer who will then support 60–80 identified individuals from the
                                  partner GP practice.

                                  For more information
                                  Dynamic Training UK Ltd
                                  Case study of Josephine Hanney, Stop Smoking Advisor

                                  Launch event for the Diploma in Leadership in
                                  multi‑agency settings
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Bucks New University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Buckinghamshire County Council

                                  December 2008

                                  Project summary
                                  Progress South Central provided staff resource and funding to organise and support an
                                  afternoon/evening event to launch a new CPD initiative, the Diploma in Leadership in multi-
                                  agency settings. The aim of the event was to assist team leaders within Buckinghamshire
                                  County Council Children’s Services to make an informed decision as to whether the
                                  course was right for them. The session was attended by prospective students from the
                                  Buckinghamshire Children’s Trust, the workforce development leader of the Children’s Trust
                                  and a number of staff involved in development and delivery of the programme.

                                  Approximately 10 prospective students attended and stayed for the presentation by the
                                  course leader. Bucks New University reported that the session was informally evaluated well,
                                  with the visitors finding the session helpful and the majority reporting that they intended
                                  either to apply themselves or support their staff to apply.
                                  There were subsequently 15 applications for the CPD module, from staff from a variety of
                                  agencies. The first cohort was subsequently recruited, with approximately half studying at Level
                                  6 and half at Level 7. All the prospective students who attended the launch event applied and
                                  were accepted onto the module.                                                                                                 17
     ‘Maintaining mental health in children
     and young people’
     Lead organisation
     Bucks New University

     July 2009

     Project summary
     Progress South Central sponsored Bucks New University to deliver a conference ‘Maintaining
     mental health in children and young people’ in July 2009. The conference was run by Bucks
     New University’s Faculty of Society and Health in conjunction with the Child and Adolescent
     Mental Health Services and the Child Bereavement Charity. The event was organised following
     discussion with students on the Foundation degrees in Early Years and Working with Children
     and Young People and their mentors. The intention was to raise awareness around progression
     through higher education and also to encourage students to take on mentor roles in
     the future.
     The conference aimed to highlight the valuable role of the practitioner in providing effective
     support around mental health problems in children and young people, give delegates the
     opportunity to share good practice and learning with other mentors and encourage existing
     students to take on future mentor roles.
     The morning featured presentations from Helen Ritzema of Child and Adolescent Mental
     Health Services, from Carolyn Painter of the Child Bereavement Charity and from Sandra
     Bailey on self-harming behaviour. Afternoon workshops were offered in:
     ••   Supporting children experiencing loss and bereavement
     ••   Supporting adolescents who are exhibiting signs of self-harming behaviour
     ••   The issues around emotional deprivation from birth to five
     ••   Mentorship – sharing information and experiences and reinforcing good practice

     33 delegates attended on the day. The attendees were mainly students on the above work-
     based learning foundation degrees, along with some potential new students.
     The evaluations from the delegates were extremely positive, all giving either ‘Good’ or
     ‘Excellent’ for the overall conference. All delegates indicated that the conference had been
     relevant to them and had met their expectations. 90% of those responding agreed that
     the conference had inspired them to progress further with their HE studies or to start
     a foundation degree.
     Three potential students subsequently applied to do the Foundation degree in Working with
     Children and Young People. There was a very good response by partners and the senior
     management team at Bucks New University with representatives attending the day and talking
     to the students. One student commented that she had been unsure whether or not to come,
     but was really impressed and would both come again and recommend it to others if it were
     re-run in subsequent years.

                                  Land-based industries
                                  BSc top‑up in Animal Biology and Conservation
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Oxford Brookes University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Abingdon & Witney College

                                  June 2009

                                  Project summary
                                  The provision developed was a BSc (Hons) in Animal Biology and Conservation, developed
                                  and delivered by Oxford Brookes University. This project aimed to develop a specialist
                                  progression route for students completing Level 5 provision in animal management subjects.
                                  The project grew out of discussions held between Progress South Central and Oxford
                                  Brookes University regarding progression routes in the region, which identified a need for
                                  a bespoke progression route for Foundation degree students studying animal management
                                  subjects. Consequently, a programme of support was agreed that would lead to the
                                  development of a top-up year for these Fd students and a resulting BSc programme that
                                  was distinct from others in the area. The programme has now been successfully validated.
                                  The development of this Honours top-up was based on a recognition by Oxford Brookes
                                  University of the need for a specialist top-up route for the Foundation degree in Animal
                                  Behaviour and Welfare offered by one of their associate colleges, Abingdon and Witney
                                  College, and one that would be more attractive to students than the existing BSc (Hons)
                                  Biology. Research into the existing relevant BSc provision in the region suggested that the
                                  creation of a top-up route in Animal Biology and Conservation should offer a distinct top-
                                  up year for students interested in applying their knowledge and practical skills to wildlife
                                  conservation. The new provision would also respond to the increasing recent emphasis
                                  on monitoring and managing faunal biodiversity, through legislation including the Habitat
                                  and Species Directive. The new top-up route was also intended, in conjunction with the
                                  Foundation degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, to address the skills gap of people
                                  qualified to handle endangered species.
                                  Telephone interviews were undertaken with employers to identify desired potential subject
                                  areas for the top-up year. The interviews also revealed generally low levels of understanding
                                  of Foundation degrees among employers and a tendency to want to employ BSc students
                                  with volunteer experience, or even Masters students, rather than Foundation degree students.
                                  However, the project team were able to suggest that students taking the Foundation degree
                                  followed by a top-up to BSc had the potential to be better prepared for work than students
                                  coming straight from a three year BSc, as the Fd/top-up route would involve professional
                                  experience that ‘regular’ BSc students have traditionally had to gain through voluntary
                                  work. The two features of the Fd/top-up route that were most liked by employers were
                                  the inclusion of training in survey and licensing skills and the inclusion of a large molecular
                                  component. A clear market was identified for students with knowledge and experience in
                                  animal care and handling within wildlife conservation.

                                  The new BSc went through the validation process in November 2009 and its first year
                                  of delivery will be the academic year 2010–11. As at May 2010, six applications had been
                                  received from Foundation degree students studying at Abingdon and Witney College.                                                                                                  19
     For more information
     Oxford Brookes University School of Life Sciences

     Progression agreement for the BSc (Hons)
     Animal Science at the University of Reading
     Lead organisation
     University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development)

     February 2009

     Project summary
     This progression agreement was negotiated and signed for the 2009–10 academic year. Based
     on a model used by VETNET LLN , the National Lifelong Learning Network for veterinary
     and animal studies, it constitutes an example of a network-wide progression agreement in
     the sense that it applies to any potential student (both within Progress South Central’s region
     and beyond) who possesses the specified sending qualification with the requisite number of
     UCAS points.
     The progression agreement related to progression to the University of Reading’s BSc (Hons)
     Animal Science degree for learners holding the BTEC National Diploma in either Animal
     Management or Horse Management. At the time the agreement was set up, the relevant
     National Diplomas were offered at five of Progress South Central’s partner colleges, but the
     agreement also covered applicants from outside the LLN’s region who met the required
     entry criteria.
     The agreement set out a number of specific things that the University of Reading undertook
     to provide to support the progression of BTEC National Diploma students into the
     specified Higher Education provision. These covered the pre-application stage, the admissions
     process and supporting retention with e.g. clear signposting of student support services. The
     agreement did not form a contract between the university and individual students; instead it
     was aimed at guaranteeing good practice and additional clarity for vocational applicants to
     the degree.

     A considerable increase was seen in applications from BTEC ND Animal Management
     students to the BSc Animal Science for 2010–11: 10 applications, as compared with 1 for
     2009–10 entry and 1 for 2008–09. 8 of the 10 have been offered places for entry in 2010–11.
     This is consistent with a positive impact of the progression agreement and of the outreach
     activities that the University of Reading has organised on behalf of Progress South Central
     over the last year.

     For more information
     University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
     More information about Progress South Central’s progression agreements

                                  Research Skills School for FE students studying
                                  land‑based subjects
                                  Lead organisation
                                  University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development)

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  BCA (Berkshire College of Agriculture)

                                  May 2009

                                  Project summary                                                                           21
                      In May 2009, Progress South Central funded a pilot Research Skills School for six high-
                      achieving BTEC National Diploma students from BCA. The event was organised and hosted
                      by the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, strengthening
                      their link with BCA first developed via VETNET , the National Lifelong Learning Network
                      for veterinary and animal-related subjects. All the students were studying the BTEC National
                      Diploma in Animal Management at the time of the event.

“Very good and        The aim was to give the students a chance to experience a university setting and learn about
                      research being carried out at the University of Reading. On the first day, the students visited
 liked the informal   the Centre for Dairy Research and were introduced to some of the research currently being
                      carried out by the Animal Science Research Group. They were also given the opportunity to
 teaching methods”    carry out an experiment to determine the starch content of different feeds. This allowed them
                      to gain some hands on experimental experience as well as discovering some of the problems
                      and issues associated with investigative work.
                      The following day was spent carrying out animal behaviour studies at Cotswold Wildlife Park
                      with the students choosing to study meerkats, a tree shrew and leaf cutter ants. Each group
                      came up with a question that they wanted to investigate and then recorded the data needed.
                      They analysed the data and produced posters to present their results. This task allowed them
                      to carry out a short research project from start to finish.
                      On the final day, the students presented their work as a poster to members of the Animal
                      Science Research Group. The event concluded with prizes being awarded for the best poster
                      and best over-all project, voted for by the Animal Science Research Group staff.

                      Feedback from students was very positive. Almost all the group agreed that the event had
                      been enjoyable, relevant to their study and that they had learnt a great deal from it. Selected
                      comments from students include:
                      “Very good and liked the informal teaching methods.”
                      “Enjoyed it very much and a very good insight into uni life.”
                      “Behaviour studies at the zoo were amazing and really had to use our skills.”
                      The aspects of the event rated most interesting and useful by the students were the wildlife
                      park trip, the process of making and presenting the poster and the chance to see the campus
                      and talk to university students.
                      In 2009–10, in order to incorporate a residential aspect into the event, the Research Skills
                      School was incorporated into the Summer School for students studying land-based subjects,
                      held in July 2010 (see ‘Land-based Industries in Action’ below).

                      For more information
                      University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

                      FE Open Day for land‑based staff
                      Lead organisation
                      University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development)

                      Additional organisations involved
                      Abingdon & Witney College; BCA; Guildford College

                      June 2009

                                  Project summary

                                  In June 2009, 13 staff from local FE colleges with land-based interests attended a bespoke
                                  ‘Open Day’ at the University of Reading, funded by Progress South Central and organised by
                                  the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. Most of the staff
                                  who attended were lecturers in either Animal Management or Horticulture. The day formed
                                  part of the package of work in the land-based sector carried out by the School of Agriculture,
                                  Policy and Development in 2008-09 on behalf of Progress South Central. The purpose of
                                  the day was to build and extend links between the University of Reading and local partner
                                  FE colleges.
                                  The day included a tour of the University of Reading’s campus, which included a tour of
                                  the new Hopkins Building with its state-of-the-art laboratory that can accommodate well
                                  over 100 students, a visit to the Harris Garden and the Cole Museum of Zoology, and a
                                  presentation from Dr Chris Reynolds of the Animal Science Research Group. Then followed
                                  an outing to the University’s Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR) at Shinfield, where
                                  delegates heard a talk from Richard Casebow of the Crop Research Unit at Sonning Farm
                                  and then enjoyed a tour of CEDAR, where they were told about current research being
                                  done with cows and milk yields and were taken to the sheds to ‘meet’ the cows, before
                                  seeing them being milked using high-tech milking machinery. The day ended with a visit to the
                                  University’s Museum of English Rural Life, where delegates took part in a typical activity used
                                  with students and school groups, identifying the purpose of various unfamiliar objects from the
                                  museum’s archives.                                                                                                23
                     Feedback from the staff was positive. The tour of Reading’s facilities was most often highlighted
                     as the most interesting part of the day with the tour of CEDAR also being highlighted; staff
                     reported enjoying seeing the milking and learning about how the ‘research cows’ were
                     selected. One delegate did comment “This was an ideal first event. In future it would be nice
                     to spend more time looking at the research projects in more detail.”
                     Selected feedback from delegates:
                     “[The university] staff were very friendly and made us feel very welcome.”
                     “Overall very enjoyable and very interesting.”
                     “I really enjoyed the day. It was all really interesting. Very worthwhile.”
                     Certificates of attendance were issued that enabled the staff to ‘count’ the day towards their
                     CPD entitlement.

                     Land‑based industries in action
                     Lead organisation
                     University of Reading (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development)

                     July 2010

                     Project summary

“I’m now more        In July 2010, Progress South Central sponsored a four-day residential programme for FE
                     students thinking of studying HE courses in the land-based sector. Current students at the
 aware of which      university acted as mentors for the participants, guiding them through the week and answering
                     their questions about higher education and student life.
 courses are         The five students all studying land-based subjects at Level 3 had the chance to spend a week
                     at the University of Reading, experiencing university life both from an academic and a social
 available for me    point of view. The students enjoyed the chance to try a range of land-based taster sessions,
                     including carrying out a woodland survey, making animal behaviour observations at a local
 to take when        wildlife park and a visit to Rushall Organic Farm. Each session had a different focus enabling
                     the students to find out more about the courses they might wish to study after college.
 I leave college.”

                                  The students stayed in Halls of Residence and had the chance to socialise and relax with
                                  other students from a range of schools and colleges. To round the week off, the students
                                  worked together to produce a presentation demonstrating some of the skills they had
                                  learnt over the week and all participants were presented with a certificate to acknowledge
                                  their achievements.

                                  Only a small group of five students attended the residential programme but feedback was
                                  positive. All the students agreed that they had found the work interesting, the student helpers
                                  had been helpful and that they had made new friends. All the students agreed that they now
                                  knew more about course and career opportunities in the land-based sector.
                                  Comments from participants included:
                                  “I’m now more aware of which courses are available for me to take when I leave college.”
                                  “I know what uni life would be like and what type of residence I’d like to live in.”
                                  “I have made good friends and learnt new skills.”                                                                                                 25
                        14–19 Diplomas
                        ‘Progression Potential’
                        Lead organisation
                        Progress South Central

                        November 2008

                        Project summary
                        During its first year of funding, Progress South Central worked with its partners to facilitate
                        the development of clear and coherent progression routes and to raise the profile of the new
                        Diplomas with colleagues in higher education. Our work in this first year of activity culminated
                        in an event for higher education admissions staff and tutors in November 2008, Progression
                        Potential: the new 14–19 Diplomas and their impact on Higher Education. This event explored
                        the potential for Diplomas as routes into Higher Education programmes and encouraged
                        colleagues to begin to consider the particular skills and attributes that Diploma learners will
“Incredibly             bring to HE.

 worthwhile for         In the morning, delegates heard two presentations, one from Nicola Garratt of the Specialist
                        Schools and Academies Trust on What are the new 14–19 Diplomas?, and one from Andrea

 an insight into        Harris of Kingston University on The impact of the new Diplomas on Higher Education.
                        Additionally, there were three workshops on offer, on Why Functional Skills are Significant for

 Diplomas and           Higher Education, The Student’s Journey through the Extended Project and Progression projects for
                        the Society, Health and Development Diploma.

 [their] relationship   Attendees included, among others, HE admissions staff, FE College practitioners and IAG
                        practitioners (for example, Connexions PAs).
 with HE”               Impact
                        Approximately 50 delegates attended from across the region and beyond, and 96% rated
                        the conference as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. The morning presentation on The impact of the
                        new Diplomas on Higher Education and the afternoon workshop The Student’s Journey through
                        the Extended Project were highlighted as the elements of the day that delegates had found
                        particularly useful. The chance to learn more about the Diplomas generally, and the chance to
                        meet and network with others, were other elements of the day that were highlighted.
                        Selected comments included:
                        “Very useful information regarding the Diploma. I was previously unaware of the Diploma structure.”
                        “Incredibly worthwhile for an insight into Diplomas and [their] relationship with HE.”
                        “Great day for raising awareness and networking.”

                                  ‘The new Diplomas – Learner Voice in Surrey’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  VT Four S

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Progress South Central

                                  February 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  A DVD ‘The new Diplomas – Learner Voice in Surrey’ was produced by VT Four S in
                                  conjunction with Surrey County Council. Progress South Central funded the rebranding of the
                                  DVD and arranged for the free distribution of the new version to key contacts in the region.
                                  The DVD contains five short films, one for each of the Diploma lines that ran in Surrey in
                                  2008–09. The DVD is intended to publicise the Diploma to learners and includes interviews
                                  with current Diploma students and tutors talking about their experiences, the projects they
                                  have been undertaking and their progression/career aspirations.

                                  200 copies of the DVD were produced and it was distributed free to 14–19 Coordinators
                                  and Aimhigher coordinators in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey.
                                  Additionally, all the LLN’s contacts have been made aware that it is available.
                                  It is hoped that the DVD will be helpful to colleagues in the region in their discussions with
                                  potential Diploma students and with others who may have an interest in the Diploma.

                                  14–19 Diplomas as routes to HE
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central


                                  Project summary
                                  In spring 2010, Progress South Central ran three lunchtime seminars in order to help staff
                                  at the University engage with the new 14–19 Diplomas as potential progression routes to
                                  HE. The sessions were open to any member of University of Reading staff but were thought
                                  to be of particular interest to those working in admissions. The seminars were designed to fit
                                  into a one hour lunchtime slot, with a buffet lunch supplied.
                                  A total of 17 members of staff attended the seminars, with the first seminar on What are the
                                  14–19 Diplomas? being the most popular. Staff attending included admissions tutors and those
                                  working in student recruitment and outreach.

                                  Session 1 What are the 14–19 Diplomas?
                                  This first session, presented by Haidar Kattan, started with a general look at 14–19 educational
                                  reform and then moved on to look at the purpose of the Diplomas and an example of the
                                  Diploma model. The session finished with a look at some of the potential issues as regards HE.                                                                                                    27
     Session 2 The Extended Project and how it benefits both students and higher education
     The second session, presented by Paul Bowers Isaacson, was an introduction to the Extended
     Project Qualification. The presentation looked at how the qualification is broken down and
     assessed and showed a few examples of Extended Project work. The session finished with
     a look at what is known about how the HE sector is using the EPQ.

     Session 3 How can the University support progression from the 14–19 Diplomas?
     The final session, led by Anthony Keeble, the University’s Admissions Officer, was an
     opportunity for some round-table discussion of Diplomas. There was a chance to discuss
     current application levels and to look at how to support Diploma applications and students
     in the future.

     Only the first two sessions were evaluated, but all those attending indicated that they
     had found the sessions interesting and the quality of the presentation and handouts good.
     Those attending fed back that they were clearer about the new Diplomas and about the
     Extended Project.

     ‘The 14–19 Dimension – Diplomas and Diversity’
     Lead organisation
     Progress South Central

     July 2010

     Project summary
     In July 2010 Progress South Central ran a one-day conference ‘The 14–19 Dimension –
     Diplomas and Diversity’ as the latest in a series of well-received conferences aimed at IAG
     staff and others involved in advising and supporting learners. Those invited included senior
     Local Authority staff, 14–19 Co-ordinators and those delivering Diplomas; Higher Education
     Admissions staff; Aimhigher; Connexions lead staff and advisors; Further Education, Higher
     Education and school IAG practitioners.
     The conference focused specifically on 14–19 education and the implications of recent
     and proposed changes to the 14–19 curriculum. The invited speakers addressed this issue
     from a range of perspectives. Keynote speakers included Professor Richard Pring, Chair of
     the Nuffield Review of 14–19 Education and Training, who spoke on The 14–19 Curriculum
     Today and Tomorrow. Lorraine Barker from Connexions Berkshire spoke on IAG implications of
     the recent changes within the 14–19 Curriculum. Finally, staff from the University of Reading’s
     Institute of Education fed back on their LLN-funded research into the experiences of
     vocational students in FE and into secondary school IAG from a staff viewpoint. The day
     also included a round table discussion on the key issues in supporting progression to HE for
     Diploma students.

                                  43 delegates attended the conference. All those providing post-conference feedback rated the
                                  conference as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. This was reinforced by verbal comments made on the day
                                  by speakers and attendees alike. The conference appeared to have been well received and to
                                  have promoted plenty of discussion. There was a feeling that the conference had achieved its
                                  goals and been a successful learning event for those attending.
                                  All respondents felt their expectations had been met to some or a great extent. One said ‘I
                                  found Richard Pring’s talk brilliant and inspiring’ and another said the conference was ‘a great
                                  mix’. All respondents indicated that the event would be helpful to them in terms of their work
                                  providing guidance to learners, with one stating that ‘it has provided insight into how I can
                                  improve IAG within the school that I work with.’

                                  For more information
                                  Read the full report on the day via our web pages                                                                                                 29
     Progression to HE
     for Apprentices
     Advanced Apprentices – progression to
     higher education
     Lead organisation
     Progress South Central

     Additional organisations involved
     Abingdon & Witney College; Amersham & Wycombe College; Basingstoke College of
     Technology; Farnborough College of Technology; Oxford & Cherwell Valley College


     Project summary
     In spring 2010, Progress South Central conducted a survey of Advanced Apprentices studying
     at the LLN’s partner colleges. The aim of the survey was explore the awareness and intentions
     of the Apprentices regarding higher levels of education. To allow comparison, the questions
     were the same as those in a recent similar survey conducted by Sussex Learning Network .
     A total of 87 completed surveys were received, from five of Progress South Central’s partner
     colleges. No one college dominated the returns, but the responses were dominated by
     Apprentices in technical programme areas, in particular ‘Plumbing’ and ‘Electrical Engineering’.

     The results gave some cause for concern around levels of awareness of HE qualifications
     among those surveyed. Less than 20% of those responding felt that they had much knowledge
     about Foundation degrees, Higher Apprenticeship, Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher
     National Diploma (HND) or NVQ Levels 4 and 5. The low awareness of the NVQ is perhaps
     particularly surprising when considering that all Advanced Apprentices will be undergoing
     an NVQ at Level 3 as part of their programme. 42% of those responding said they did not
     know enough about the available higher education options to make a decision as to whether
     HE might be for them. However, 70% of respondents did know that progression on to a
     higher education course after completing their Advanced Apprenticeship was possible and
     35% indicated that they had definite plans to progress to an HE course after the completion
     of their Apprenticeship. Of these, 42% were considering a HND or HNC, 38% a Foundation
     degree, 13% an NVQ Level 4 and 8% a Higher Apprenticeship.
     Over half of those responding considered that they would have the support of their
     employer to do a HE course after their Apprenticeship. There were a large number of ‘not
     sure’ responses to this question, although this may perhaps have been simply because those
     concerned had not given the matter thought.
     The results suggest that there may be a need to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of
     higher education are appropriately communicated to Advanced Apprentices. Colleges need
     to ensure that IAG on their current HE offer, and that of their partner HEI, is available and
     presented in a way that is readily accessible to employers and their Advanced Apprentices.
     There is an opportunity and need to raise Advanced Apprentices’ awareness of the availability
     and nature of higher education progression options so that more informed progression
     choices can be made and the benefits understood. Liaison with both employers and Advanced
     Apprentices needs to be focused on ensuring that the benefits of higher education are

                                  clear and that the barriers to access are minimised by providing flexible access around work
                                  commitments, information on business benefits, costs and funding. Full use should be made of
                                  the National Apprenticeship Service to ensure engagement between providers, employers and
                                  Apprentices and a better understanding of the options for progression onto higher education.

                                  Research into attitudes and aspirations
                                  to HE with apprentices employed by
                                  Oxford Brookes University
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Oxford Brookes University

                                  Project summary
                                  This research, undertaken by Progress South Central’s HE/FE Liaison Officer based at Oxford
                                  Brookes University, involved face-to-face interviews with six apprentices employed by the
                                  University. The aims of the research included:
                                  •• recording the learner’s experience of being employed by the University
                                  •• gathering information on the future aspirations of these apprentice learners
                                  •• informing interviewees about higher education progression opportunities available to them
                                     (if they were not already aware of these) – for example, Foundation degree programmes
                                  •• identifying if there were any specific problems encountered by these learners with regard
                                     to progression to higher education
                                  Six apprentice learners were interviewed in July 2010. Of these, four were undertaking an
                                  apprenticeship in Business Administration, one in Hospitality and Catering and one in Amenity
                                  Horticulture. The learning providers of the six apprentices interviewed were Oxford and
                                  Cherwell Valley College (2), Abingdon and Witney College (1) and Intec Business College
                                  (3). Three of the apprentices interviewed had completed their apprenticeship and were now
                                  working for Oxford Brookes.

                                  The apprentices interviewed were complimentary of Oxford Brookes’ working environment
                                  in terms of support for undertaking assignments and other learning associated with
                                  the framework. All apprentices were positive about the structure of the apprenticeship
                                  programme and being able to earn while they learnt and having the opportunity to work at
                                  the University. There was also general agreement that it was helpful to have other apprentices
                                  working at Brookes with whom they could network (for example there is a particularly
                                  strong group ethos within the Business and Administration apprentices, who had discussed
                                  progression options with each other).
                                  Several aspects were identified for development. The fact that Oxford Brookes does not
                                  accept Key Skills as equivalent to GCSE English, Maths or Science for entry onto any of
                                  its undergraduate programmes, including Foundation degrees, precludes apprenticeship
                                  students who have not taken GCSEs (even though Key Skills is part of their framework)
                                  from progressing further educationally at the University. There was also some general anxiety
                                  among those progressing from a Level 2 Apprenticeship about whether they would be able
                                  to stay in employment at the University to complete the Advanced Apprenticeship. Some
                                  apprentices mentioned the perceived danger of being pigeon-holed as ‘the apprentice’ and
                                  thought it was a good idea to perhaps work in more than one departmental environment if
                                  starting from a Level 2 Apprenticeship.                                                                                               31
     Finally, some apprentices still did not know much if anything about the educational
     opportunities available to them. The researcher has suggested that as part of their induction
     they could be directed to the new Oxford Brookes Associate College Partnership website
     which gives information on progressing on to a Foundation degree programme.
     The research report has been circulated widely within Oxford Brookes University.

     For more information
     Oxford Brookes Associate College Partnership

                                  An investigation into the Information, Advice and
                                  Guidance (IAG) provided for Year 11 students
                                  regarding their post–16 options
                                  Lead organisation
                                  University of Reading Institute of Education

                                  September 2009

                                  Project summary
                                  This research explored Year 11 students’ perspectives of IAG provision, as well as
                                  their attitudes to the new Diploma and to vocational education and training. It made
                                  recommendations for IAG in the school context, particularly IAG specific to the Diploma in
                                  the light of apparent lack of clarity around what this is and its potential as a progression route.
                                  A questionnaire was completed by 412 school students in Year 11 at the beginning of the
                                  2008–09 academic year. The students came from 11 schools, evenly distributed across the
                                  spectrum in terms of the national average for five A*–C attainment at GCSE. A second
                                  questionnaire was then completed by 212 of the same students later the same academic year,
                                  prior to the start of the GCSE examination period. Following the second questionnaire, five
                                  focus groups were held in three schools, in which 23 volunteer students participated.
                                  The questionnaire collected data on students’ post-16 intentions, how informed students
                                  felt they were in making their post-16 decisions, who they relied on for IAG as well as their
                                  attitudes to IAG provision and various post-16 routes more generally. Focus groups were then
                                  carried out to explore some of the survey questions in more depth, including reasons behind
                                  students’ post-16 intentions as well as their views on vocational versus academic routes. Focus
                                  groups also provided an opportunity to discuss the IAG the students had received and the
                                  perceived strengths and weaknesses of IAG provision in the students’ own schools.

                                  Data from the questionnaires indicated that the majority of the young people intended to
                                  remain in education post-16, with AS and A-levels being the preferred route. The focus groups
                                  suggested that this preference reflected broader ideas associated with perceptions of the
                                  tradition and academic credibility associated with A-levels. Alternatives to A-level, while seen as
                                  having value, were largely viewed as options for less academic students.
                                  In terms of current IAG provision there was a feeling among the students surveyed that what
                                  is currently offered is not always helpful nor is it personalised to reflect the needs, interests
                                  and strengths of the student. While current IAG provision was considered to be satisfactory
                                  for those with clear post-16 pathways, it was felt to be less so for those who are unsure which
                                  route to take or what is most appropriate for them. For students in need of greater direction,
                                  it may be that the onus for IAG will need to shift onto tutors/teachers in school, as teachers’
                                  greater knowledge of their students may make them best placed to deliver the personalised
                                  IAG that some students feel they need. However, a dependency on teachers for IAG will raise
                                  issues in terms of teachers’ capacity, skills and training needs.
                                  The results of this study suggest that parents are the primary source for student IAG.
                                  Therefore, it is crucial that parents have access to sources of information that will enable them
                                  to offer informed advice. Utilizing Parents’ Evenings to, for example, inform parents and carers
                                  about the Diploma will be necessary – however, issues will remain in terms of those families
                                  that are traditionally harder to reach. As many of the post-16 options now available will not be                                                                                                    33
                       familiar to most parents, information sheets specifically written for parents may be one way of
                       providing an overview of the many routes now available.
                       The results of this study suggest that if the Diploma is to be seen as a credible post-16 route
                       then much work needs to be done in terms of informing young people and their parents as
                       to both the course content and its higher education and work-related benefits. The students
                       in this study were not clear about what Diploma study involved, felt that it was narrowly job
                       specific and was seen by many as a vocational qualification not suited to more academic
                       pupils who were aiming for university. In order to prevent an academic divide in terms of
                       different post-16 routes, better IAG regarding Diplomas needs to be targeted at all students
                       and parents. As A level study is the accepted route into higher education, it is likely that only
                       when the Diploma is collectively acknowledged as a good alternative route to university will
                       it achieve parity with other, more traditional, post-16 qualifications.

                       For more information
                       University of Reading Institute of Education
                       Download the full report

                       ‘Changing Routes to Higher Education’
                       Lead organisation
                       Progress South Central

                       September 2008

                       Project summary
                       In September 2008 Progress South Central held Changing Routes to Higher Education, its first
                       conference for Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) staff. The conference was aimed at
                       guidance workers working with young people, college students and adults.

“Good networking       The keynote address was delivered by Kevin Whitston, then Head of Widening Participation
                       at HEFCE, who talked about LLNs and their impact on routes into Higher Education. A
 opportunities in      panel session on ‘What HE has meant to me’ featured three students following vocational
                       programmes at local FE colleges, talking about their experiences of school and college and
 addition to the       why they had chosen the courses they had. The conference also included a marketplace
                       of local HE providers focusing on vocational courses and non-traditional entry into higher
 conference itself.”   education. Delegates could choose from afternoon workshops including 14–19 Diplomas –
                       the challenges for Universities; The Potential of Foundation degrees and Aimhigher – the next 3
                       years, and additionally had the opportunity to get a first look at the Progress to HE toolkit
                       being produced by Progress South Central in partnership with Aimhigher Berkshire and
                       nextstep Berkshire.

                       45 delegates attended the event at Newbury Racecourse. Of those feeding back, all but one
                       rated the event as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. Similarly, all but one agreed that the event had met
                       their expectations and would be helpful to them in informing their work providing guidance to
                       The keynote address and the student panel were the aspects of the conference rated as most
                       enjoyable and useful. When asked what was the main thing they had learned from the day,
                       several delegates mentioned learning more about Diplomas and Foundation degrees, although
                       three delegates noted that they still needed to know more about Diplomas (responding to
                       this need, Progress South Central ran a dedicated event on the 14–19 Diploma in November
                       2008 – see ‘Progression Potential’ above.
                       The conference was well-received by the participants. Selected comments from delegates

                                  “Good networking opportunities in addition to the conference itself.”
                                  “Thank you – a useful day.”
                                  “Excellent conference.”
                                  The success of this conference resulted in further conferences for IAG staff in October 2009
                                  and again in November 2010.

                                  ‘Flexible Access Routes and Admissions to HE’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Aimhigher MKOB

                                  November 2010

                                  Project summary

                                  In November 2010 Progress South Central hosted, jointly with Aimhigher MKOB, a free
                                  conference for IAG practitioners across our four counties, entitled Flexible Access Routes and
                                  Admissions to HE. The conference, held at the Burnham Beeches Hotel, was attended by 69
                                  colleagues who had the opportunity to listen to five speakers before breaking out to discuss
                                  issues with admissions and coming back to hear answers from an expert panel.
                                  The conference aimed to highlight the increasing importance of flexible and part-time
                                  progression routes to HE and to provide practitioners with information on how best to
                                  support students’ progress to HE via non-traditional routes. It offered the opportunity for
                                  practitioners to hear more about the changing HE landscape; support provided by UCAS
                                  in the applications and admissions process; how SPA is seeking to support professionalism
                                  in admissions; progression via the apprenticeship route; and current financial support for
                                  students, particularly part-time students. Practitioners had an opportunity to engage in round-
                                  table discussions and to debate the sorts of information and resources which would help
                                  them to provide effective IAG to prospective students – both for those planning to apply in
                                  2011/12 and those who will be affected by government changes arising from the Browne
                                  Report and the Comprehensive Spending Review. The day concluded with a question and
                                  answer session with a panel of senior HE admissions personnel as well as a number of the
                                  morning speakers.                                                                                                    35
                  69 people attended the conference and a total of 49 feedback questionnaires were
                  completed (71% of participants).

“A great          The conference was well-received and promoted plenty of discussion among attendees. All
                  those who fed back rated the conference as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. This was reinforced by verbal
 networking       comments made on the day by speakers and attendees alike, including comments confirming
                  that the panel format is very much liked.
 event and good   All respondents thought that the event would be useful to them in their work. Many noted
                  the uncertain political climate within which the conference was being held and the uncertain
 speakers.”       future for HE funding. Several commented that another conference when more information is
                  available would be useful.
                  Comments received from delegates included:
                  “We have a challenge – thank you for sharing the support and ideas, information and
                  “Really well planned out … enjoyed the day and learnt a lot.”
                  “Would be good to have a follow-up in the light of constant changes in HE.”
                  “Afternoon panel was excellent idea, good discussions took place – thank you!”
                  “A great networking event and good speakers.”
                  The many requests for a further conference to update practitioners when more is known
                  suggest there is a serious and ongoing need for more information for IAG practitioners.

                  Art Factor Forum
                  Lead organisation
                  Oxford Brookes University (School of Arts and Humanities)

                  October 2010

                  Project summary

                                  The Art Factor Forum was a one-day event held in October 2010 delivered by Oxford
                                  Brookes University’s School of Arts and Humanities. It was aimed at students thinking about a
                                  future in Art and Design. An estimated 130 students attended, drawn from Oxford Brookes
                                  University, Abingdon and Witney College, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and local
                                  Oxfordshire schools.
                                  The event aimed to inform and inspire art and design students by gathering together
                                  inspirational speakers drawn from the creative industries, who presented their work and gave
                                  personal accounts of their creative career journeys. Most of the speakers had studied on the
                                  foundation year at the University and spoke about how they made their degree choices, their
                                  first jobs and current work. The speakers were joined by Brookes’ Foundation Art and Design
                                  alumni, now studying various art and design disciplines at institutions throughout the country.
                                  The alumni brought along their portfolios for students to look at and shared their experiences
                                  of degree level study in response to questions from the audience.

                                  91 feedback forms were received from attendees. Two-thirds of those feeding back were
                                  studying on a foundation year in Art and Design, while around 20% were in Year 12/13 and
                                  12% were on degree courses. Almost all those feeding back agreed that the day had given
                                  them a better understanding of the careers available in Art and Design, and 93% agreed that
                                  they were more aware of the education options open to them.
                                  Feedback from the event was very positive with one attendee saying; “It was an extremely
                                  interesting and enlightening experience. Not only were we very well informed about careers
                                  but also we got the opportunity to speak with important and inspiring people”.                                                                                                 37
                    Staff development
                    Professionalising Admission to Higher Education
                    in Further Education
                    Lead organisation
                    Bucks New University

                    March 2010

                    Project summary
“This conference    In March 2010 Progress South Central sponsored a conference, organised by Bucks New
                    University, for practitioners from HE and FE with responsibility for IAG and admission of
 has addressed      students onto HE programmes within a FE setting. The conference was designed to raise
                    awareness and a better understanding of the current practices within the HE admissions
 challenges being   process.
                    Keynote speeches were delivered by Mary Curnock Cook, CEO of UCAS , who gave an
 faced both by      overview of applications and acceptances to HE courses delivered in FE colleges, including
                    noting that UCAS was facing an unprecedented demand in terms of applications; and
 providers and      Janet Graham, Director of SPA (Supporting Professionalism in Admissions) , who gave a
                    presentation on Current Issues in Admissions Policy and Practice and raised the question of how
 applicants in      SPA could help with HE in FE. The afternoon offered a variety of workshops which focused
                    on Admissions Policy and HE Strategy; What is UCAS and what does it do?; How to ensure a good
 FE and HE.”        applicant and student experience and HE Admissions from the FE Perspective.

                    44 delegates attended. The conference was very well received and offered an excellent
                    opportunity for networking, as well as increasing awareness of the UCAS process and the
                    work of SPA. Most of the delegates responded that they intended to follow up with review,
                    training or other initiatives within their own institution as a result of this conference. This
                    has the potential to positively impact on student progression onto appropriate and suitable
                    Selected feedback from delegates:
                    “Today has given me a great insight into admissions and ideas of what to change and improve”
                    “A very good update on current issues.”
                    “This conference has addressed challenges being faced both by providers and applicants in FE
                    and HE.”
                    There was an immediate impact from the conference as SPA subsequently reported that they
                    had received requests from partner institutions to visit them. SPA has made a commitment to
                    continue to support this work in other regions and this is now an agreed objective approved
                    by the SPA Steering Group. Dissemination of this model will be through the LLN National
                    Forum and SPA to encourage other regions to engage with SPA.

                                  Bursary scheme for HE in FE
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Abingdon & Witney College; Oxford & Cherwell Valley College; Ruskin College; Solihull
                                  College; Swindon College


                                  Project summary
                                  As a direct result of earlier research (see below) carried out with staff at our partner colleges
                                  involved in the delivery or other support of HE programmes, Progress South Central
                                  instigated a bursary scheme whereby a number of bursaries of up to £250 were made
                                  available to staff in further education colleges engaged with Progress South Central.
                                  One of the things perceived as most needed by respondents to assist them with HE-related
                                  CPD was, in addition to more time in which to undertake CPD, more help with the cost of
                                  financing it. Financial barriers were commonly stated as a major reason why staff had not
                                  undertaken as much CPD as they might have wished.
                                  The bursaries were made available to support continuing professional development to
                                  enhance the delivery of higher education in further education colleges. They were intended
                                  to be used to fund targeted professional development that would support delivery, improve
                                  skills and/or broaden knowledge. Invited to apply were those involved in the organisation and
                                  delivery of higher education programmes in further education colleges and those involved in
                                  providing information, advice and guidance to students in further education colleges about
                                  higher education.
                                  The bursaries were intended to fund:
                                  ••   Attendance at events or meetings, including conferences
                                  ••   External training courses
                                  ••   Study
                                  ••   Working with employers
                                  ••   Shadowing university staff
                                  ••   Release from college duties to allow relevant CPD
                                  However, applicants were also invited to apply for support for other types of activity if
                                  relevant. Recipients were asked on their application to state what the benefits and outcomes
                                  would be of their being allocated a bursary.

                                  Eleven bursaries were allocated, to staff employed at various of the LLN’s partner colleges.
                                  Seven were used to go towards courses of various types, two were allocated for conference
                                  attendance, one to go towards study trips/visits and one to go towards books and student
                                  licences for computer software.
                                  A report is expected from each bursary recipient during 2010–11 outlining how their bursary
                                  was used. Of those received so far, one recipient stated that as a result of the bursary, he
                                  has now been able to access CAD software that was either only available at college or
                                  not currently available, and that this has enabled him to develop skills and knowledge in a
                                  specialist and vital area. As regards wider benefits, he has been able to begin evaluating the
                                  potential of new software, looking at ways to deliver CAD education in more meaningful
                                  and relevant ways.
                                  Reports are still coming in as at February 2011 and a fuller report will be prepared in
                                  due course.                                                                                                  39
     For more information
     Progress South Central’s CPD survey of HE staff in FE

     Learning advice in community settings
     Lead organisation
     New Directions, Reading Borough Council

     May 2009

     Project summary
     New Directions is the Learning and Employment Service for Reading, run by Reading Borough
     Council. This project set out to plan and deliver a three-day advice course for frontline staff
     operating in a range of adult and community settings. It aimed to equip staff working with
     learners with the skills and underpinning knowledge to provide impartial information and
     advice on courses and further learning including progression into higher education. Successful
     completion of the course led to an OCN Learner Adviser award.

     15 participants completed the course and achieved the OCN award. All participants attended
     a half-day reflective practice workshop held a number of months after the training to see if
     and how the course had impacted on practice. All participants were able to recount examples
     of how the course had helped them with their job roles and enabled them to seek out
     information and advice to support learners.
     Further progression from the Learner Adviser award could potentially be either to one of
     the NOCN’s qualifications in Information, Advice or Guidance, or to NVQ Level 2, 3 and 4 in
     Information, Advice and Guidance.
     As part of this project, a feasibility study was undertaken to assess the possibility of developing
     the course as an e-learning package, to be delivered via New Directions’ VLE. Planning and
     delivery of the resulting e-learning course subsequently formed a separate project funded by
     Progress South Central.

     For more information
     New Directions

     Valuing the support worker role –
     care, commitment, development
     Lead organisation
     Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

     Additional organisations involved
     Thames Valley University

     August 2010

     Project summary
     This project developed and validated new curriculum to form part of a new academic award
     pathway for mental health support workers within Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation
     Trust. The new curriculum was developed and written by the Trust in partnership with Thames

                                  Valley University, and the award was aimed at mental health support workers on NHS Bands
                                  2, 3 and 4. The new award was intended to be an employer-led bespoke package to be
                                  offered to all support workers that would allow achievement of the required competences
                                  for Bands 2, 3 and 4 and would provide career progression within the Trust. The new provision
                                  forms part of an innovative tailor-made programme, the Aspire programme (A support
                                  worker programme instilling values, realising potential, embedding good practice).
                                  An Introductory Award at Level 2, Certificate at Level 2 and Diploma at Level 3 were
                                  developed and accredited with OCN Credit4Learning. The provision for Bands 2 and 3
                                  support workers, comprising the Introductory Award for new starters at these bands (to
                                  be undertaken following their NHS Corporate Induction) and the Level 2 Certificate, has
                                  now been launched. The award for the Band 4 role was still in development at the time of
                                  completion of the LLN’s involvement but was likely to be a Foundation degree with the
                                  option of a further year to convert to a full degree.
                                  The impetus for the new award stemmed from a concern within the Trust that the existing
                                  NVQs were not meeting the learning needs of its mental health workers. Research carried
                                  out by the Trust revealed that there was no clear career pathway enabling progression through
                                  the bands, and also revealed a limited number of Band 4 support workers. Existing ‘off the
                                  shelf ’ packages, such as the NVQ in Health and Social Care, were viewed as not meeting the
                                  requirements of the Trust and staff. Specific problems included a lack of mental health content,
                                  a lack of assessors and the requirement to demonstrate evidence of competence without
                                  incorporating sufficient learning. The objectives of the new provision were to deliver key
                                  learning at the beginning of employment, to include a work-based learning element and to be
                                  a flexible award, with the overarching objective of enabling support workers to be competent
                                  and confident in their roles.

                                  The pilot of the Introductory Award and the Level 2 Certificate has just been launched as at
                                  May 2010 and the intention is to have 15 Trust staff enrolled on each. Robust evaluation of the
                                  award is planned to measure the impact and return on investment.
                                  Potential for the Aspire programme being ‘sold’ to other NHS Trusts may be investigated
                                  once the Berkshire pilot is complete and a cohort of staff have successfully completed the
                                  programme. Initial presentations to the other mental health Trusts within the NHS South
                                  Central region have been received positively.

                                  For more information
                                  Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust                                                                                                41
     Raising learner
     Mentoring for progression – prison mentoring
     Lead organisation
     The Learning Ladder Ltd

     Additional organisations involved
     HMYOI Reading

     February 2010

     Project summary
     This project aimed to train and empower prisoners at Reading Young Offenders Institution to
     enable them to reach their full potential by gaining relevant qualifications, including progressing
     into HE if this is appropriate and fits in with their goals. This pilot project was an extension
     of a previous successful project at HMP Spring Hill in Buckinghamshire, the results of which
     suggested that an effective way of empowering prisoners through mentoring was to move
     as quickly as possible to a situation where prisoners themselves are acting as mentors. This
     project extended the concept to work with young offenders at HMYOI Reading, a small
     prison holding prisoners between the ages of 18 and 21 years.
     Fourteen prisoners applied to take part in two preliminary IAG sessions that acted as a
     screening process for subsequent participation in the peer mentoring. As a result of the
     screening, seven prisoners were chosen to participate in peer mentoring sessions. In these,
     prisoners were given the opportunity to understand and appreciate the benefits of mentoring,
     experience the benefits of receiving a mentoring session from one of their peers, put their
     mentoring skills into practice by delivering a peer mentoring session and to build a personal
     action plan.
     The mentees completed action plans similar to those used in previous ‘Mentoring for
     Progression’ projects, with the addition of some context-specific questions around their
     educational experience prior to coming to prison and their expected release date. Because
     the prisoners were not able to carry out their own research, due to lack of access to the
     internet, the research component was carried out on behalf of the prisoners by The Learning
     Ladder and the information then fed back to the mentee.

     Evaluation of this pilot initiative took the form of a semi-structured focus group of participants,
     comprising three Reading prisoner mentors. The difference being trained as a peer mentor can
     make is evidenced by feedback from those taking part. This also demonstrates, in the words of
     the prisoners, the importance of the mentoring being carried out by fellow prisoners rather
     than members of staff or external mentors:
     “If the governors tried to do what we do then the prisoners wouldn’t listen, they would just see it as
     lecturing – but we are in the same position so they are more likely to listen.”
     “Having you has been great cos you don’t work for the prison.”
     “Because you are not from the prison I concentrate more.”

                                    Encouragingly, the feedback also highlights the difference peer mentoring can make to self-
                                    esteem, confidence and, critically, the prisoner’s attitude to their own potential for re-offending:

“More of this                       “You challenge us more to think differently, it has made me take more responsibility for my actions
                                    and staying straight.”

 should happen                      “More of this should happen because you are giving people a future, who thought they never had
                                    a future.”
 because you are                    The pilot peer mentoring project appeared to be extremely successful and interest was
                                    subsequently expressed in embedding the scheme in the prison, with a decision being taken to
 giving people                      equip a number of prisoners with the skills to act as peer mentors for other prisoners. With
                                    this in mind, The Learning Ladder has subsequently, sponsored by Progress South Central, run
 a future, who                      two further phases of peer mentor training sessions in the prison with a view to ensuring
                                    longer-term embedding.
 thought they never
                                    For more information
 had a future.”                     The Learning Ladder Ltd

                                    Mentoring for progression – working with
                                    training providers
                                    Lead organisation
                                    The Learning Ladder Ltd

                                    Additional organisations involved
                                    ATG Training; Chiltern Training; Henley Training Company; Milton Keynes College; Slough
                                    Borough Council; Training the Carer

                                    January 2010

                                    Project summary
                                    This project aimed to engage providers of work-based learning in a process of mentoring
                                    learners with the aim of clarifying career goals and encouraging progression to further study
                                    if appropriate. Six training providers participated in the project and a total of twelve staff
                                    from these providers volunteered to be trained to provide individual one-to-one mentoring
                                    support to learners. The longer-term aim was for the training providers to embed the
                                    mentoring initiative into their organisations.
                                    All volunteer mentors had an initial meeting with the project leader, then later attended a
                                    day’s training session as a group. They were then further supported on a one-to-one basis
                                    throughout the mentoring as and when they needed it. The question of how much contact a
                                    mentor had with each of their learners was left up to them, although the expected minimum
                                    was three face-to-face meetings in addition to unlimited email and telephone contact.
                                    A cohort of learners was then identified for each mentor. Learners selected as mentees
                                    were learners whom providers felt had the potential to benefit from HE but who were not
                                    currently considering HE or further learning as an option. All learners selected were taking
                                    Level 3 apprenticeship frameworks. Around 70% of participants were in full-time employment
                                    while undertaking their apprenticeship.
                                    46 learners completed the mentoring process and produced Personal Development Plans
                                    (PDPs) with the support of their mentors. The PDP makes use of a range of tools to help
                                    the mentee to understand him or herself more fully, and provides a focus for discussion by
                                    providing the mentor with a number of structured questions that help them to draw out
                                    relevant information and therefore improve the quality of their joint decision-making.                                                                                                     43
                      After the mentoring, 31 of these learners (67% of total participants) indicated that they
                      were likely to apply to HE. Participants were asked this question both before and after the
                      mentoring and 10 of those responding to both questions showed a positive shift in their
                      intentions regarding HE, with 6 responding ‘Yes, definitely’ when asked the question after the
                      training, where they had been undecided before – or in one case had categorically responded

“Very good mentor     75% of those feeding back agreed that taking part in the mentoring project had made them
                      feel more positive towards studying to get further qualifications. One learner noted that he
 [who] gave me a      had “loved the experience” of undergoing mentoring; this learner had initially stated ‘No’ to
                      the question of whether he was planning on going on to a HE course, but then answered ‘Yes,
 lot of information   definitely’ to this question following the mentoring.
                      Positive feedback was received from participating providers on the benefits of working with
 about a future       learners in this way. Mentors reported that they had enjoyed their role and spoke positively
                      of the contribution that mentoring has made to the way in which learners view their future
 career.”             learning. There is evidence that a significant proportion of learners are actively intending to
                      engage in further, higher level learning following achievement of their Level 3 qualification.
                      Selected comments from delegates:
                      “Loved the experience.”
                      “Very good mentor [who] gave me a lot of information about a future career.”
                      “I have found out about funding and a variety of degrees that are available for me to apply for,
                      which I was not aware of before.”

                      For more information
                      The Learning Ladder Ltd

                      Enrichment sessions: Oxford Brookes University
                      and partner colleges
                      Lead organisation
                      Oxford Brookes University

                      Additional organisations involved
                      Abingdon & Witney College; Swindon College

                      May 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  Oxford Brookes University were asked by Abingdon and Witney College to provide additional
                                  higher education information seminars to Level 2 and 3 students as part of the College
                                  Enrichment Programme. The University were also asked by Swindon College to provide
                                  similar sessions focusing on student finance.
                                  The sessions at Abingdon and Witney College were entitled “Uni Life” and covered a range of
                                  topics such as Student Finance, Accommodation and Choosing a Course, with questions and
                                  answers at the end. For the smaller groups it was easier to engage on a more personal level
                                  with the students, and as the students were in their tutor groups they were not embarrassed
                                  to ask questions or share any concerns that they had about finance and other aspects of
                                  applying to higher education.
                                  The sessions at Swindon College were solely on student finance and contained information
                                  on fees, student support, budgeting and specific information for part time and Foundation
                                  degree students.

                                  In total 15 sessions were delivered to students on vocational programmes including National
                                  Diplomas and Access to HE courses over a 12 week period, with the size of sessions varying
                                  from 12 to 50 students. A total of 374 students were engaged with through the sessions.
                                  The feedback from the students and the College has been excellent. There has been an
                                  increase in applications to University on-campus programmes and Foundation degrees from
                                  the two colleges. Notably, applications from Abingdon and Witney College increased by 44.5%
                                  between 2009 and 2010, and actual enrolments increased by 24.1% in the same time period.
                                  There has been engagement with vocational students on a more individual basis which has
                                  enabled the dispelling of any preconceptions that the students might have had about student
                                  finance and other aspects of higher education.
                                  It is hoped that this work will be sustained through the Oxford Brookes Associate College
                                  Partnership Marketing and Progression Working Group.

                                  For more information
                                  Oxford Brookes University

                                  Oxford Brookes University mentoring scheme
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Oxford Brookes University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Wheatley Park School

                                  June 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  Wheatley Park School contacted Oxford Brookes University to ask whether the University
                                  would be interested in delivering a mentoring programme in the school. They suggested
                                  targeting a specific group of 30 students from year 11, who were on a C–D borderline in their
                                  GCSEs, but should, in the opinion of the school, be capable of at least a C or above.
                                  The mentors were Oxford Brookes University undergraduate students who had attended
                                  schools in the local area. The scheme specifically set out to recruit mentors who lived locally
                                  in Oxfordshire and had attended similar types of schools to the young people they would be
                                  working with.                                                                                                 45
     Training for the mentors took the form of a day’s training session, covering child protection,
     the role of the mentor and the objectives of the scheme. It also provided advice on working
     with groups of students and information on alternative routes into higher education. Mentors
     were introduced to their mentees at a ‘Meet your Mentor’ event, and goals were discussed.


     30 school students and 7 undergraduate mentors participated in the mentoring programme.
     The scheme aimed to target Level 2 students who were believed to have the potential
     to progress to higher education and to support these students in achieving their Level 2
     qualification. 80% of the school students who provided feedback said that the scheme had
     helped them with their schoolwork. In addition to supporting the students in their academic
     work, the scheme also included activities aimed at increasing their confidence in learning, as
     the students participating were not achieving the standard that they were believed capable of.
     60% of the students who provided feedback agreed that their confidence in their learning had
     increased. One mentee described how his grades had increased because he had ‘been more
     focused’ since doing the mentoring and as he had ‘been revising a lot more’ his confidence had
     Another important aim of the scheme was to raise the school students’ awareness of higher
     education opportunities, including foundation courses, Foundation degrees and Honours
     degrees. Sessions were held throughout the year on future options and their requirements in
     terms of qualifications at Levels 2 and 3. Informal chats between mentor and mentee proved
     one of the most effective ways of putting this information across. One mentor wrote that
     “The mentees involved in the scheme have had the opportunity to talk at length one on one about
     their plans for the future [which has] contributed to their confidence to pursue their goals.”
     The scheme proved a way of forging a closer relationship between the University and one
     of its local schools in the Oxfordshire Schools Partnership, thereby fulfilling one of the
     University’s own objectives to work in closer partnership with local state schools as part of
     the 14–19 agenda. Wheatley Park School was not part of the Aimhigher programme and
     its students would not therefore have been able to benefit from the Aimhigher Associates
     scheme. This project gave Wheatley Park students the opportunity to get to know students
     currently studying at the local university. Additionally, Wheatley Park’s sixth form has shown
     an interest in getting involved and the scheme has received positive press coverage as an
     example of good practice.

     For more information
     Oxford Brookes University

                                  Employer engagement
                                  Sponsorship of business lunch
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Aylesbury College

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Business Link

                                  January 2009

                                  Project summary
                                  This event, organised by Aylesbury College’s Business Engagement Manager, aimed to engage
                                  with senior personnel from businesses in and around Aylesbury College with the focus of the
                                  event being ‘Training and progression up to Level 5’. The event featured Mike Clare, President
                                  of the bed company Dreams, as guest speaker. Mike, an example of a successful Bucks-based
                                  entrepreneur, gave a talk entitled ‘Making Dreams Come True’.
                                  The event was part-sponsored by Progress South Central in conjunction with Business
                                  Link and Aylesbury College. Two members of Progress South Central’s core team were in
                                  attendance. Progress South Central’s Development Manager (Creative Industries) gave a short
                                  presentation about the Lifelong Learning Network and its relevance to those present.

                                  Over 60 members of the local business community registered to attend. The event sold out
                                  quickly and Mike Clare was felt to have been an inspiring and motivating guest speaker.

                                  Seminar on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Progress South Central

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  University of Reading

                                  July 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  In July 2010 Progress South Central delivered a seminar at the University of Reading on
                                  Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) in colleges to representatives from partner colleges.
                                  Anne Hartnell, KTP Regional Adviser, gave a presentation on ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
                                  in FE & HE’. This gave an overview of the two types of KTP and the benefits of KTP, and
                                  included an FE Case Study showing how one FE college had benefited from partnership with
                                  a software development house. Anna Price of the University of Reading’s Knowledge Transfer
                                  Centre spoke about the practicalities of administering KTPs.                                                                                                  47
     The seminar was attended by nine representatives of Progress South Central’s partner
     colleges. Colleges represented were Abingdon and Witney College , Amersham and
     Wycombe College , Aylesbury College , Brockenhurst College , Brooklands College and
     Oxford and Cherwell Valley College . The attendees benefited from gaining an insight into
     KTPs and the opportunities that they offer.
     It was agreed that the college representatives present would discuss KTPs and their potential
     with management in their respective colleges, although it was noted that further assistance
     from Anne Hartnell as KTP Regional Adviser might be necessary where there were gaps in
     understanding. It was noted that KTP Advisers were available to provide support to colleges in
     all aspects of KTP.
     The existing strong employer engagement links within colleges and the mutual environment of
     trust could be utilised in investigating potential areas of business/education development that
     would be ideal KTP projects. Subsequent involvement of an HEI partner would then be likely.
     Progress South Central offered assistance with the knowledge and expertise needed to
     submit proposals, including potential proposals to the KTP Technology Strategy Board for a
     new KTP Administrative Centre.

     For more information
     University of Reading Knowledge Transfer Centre

     ‘Develop your workforce: Employer’s Guide to
     Higher Education’
     Lead organisation
     Progress South Central

     Additional organisations involved
     Bubble Creative Solutions

     March 2010

     Project summary
     Following feedback from partners and stakeholders suggesting that employers would benefit
     from a straightforward guide to higher education, Progress South Central commissioned the
     production of ‘Develop your workforce – Employer’s Guide to Higher Education’. This booklet
     explains how businesses can benefit from work-based higher education and the various levels
     and types of
     qualification available. It also directs employers to where they can access higher education near
     them and provides other useful contact addresses.

     Copies have been widely distributed to employers by our partners and have been well
     received. The second edition is now available on request (please email or
     can be accessed on our website at .

                                    Higher level skills workshops for
                                    Train to Gain brokers
                                    Lead organisation
                                    Progress South Central

                                    Additional organisations involved
                                    Higher Education South East (HESE); fdf; Sussex Learning Network; Kent and Medway Lifelong
                                    Learning Network; Hants & IOW Lifelong Learning Network

                                    July 2008

                                    Project summary
“Really useful and                  Progress South Central delivered, on behalf of Higher Education South East (HESE), a Higher
                                    Level Skills workshop for Train to Gain Skills Brokers in July 2008 at the University of Reading.
 comprehensive                      Similar workshops were run by the three other LLNs in the South East, thereby ensuring that
                                    all brokers in the region were given the opportunity to find out more about Higher Level
 introduction,                      Skills provision locally and how to access relevant resources and obtain support.
                                    The workshop at the University of Reading was organised and delivered by Progress South
 thank you!”                        Central with some support from fdf . The workshop additionally included an overview by
                                    University of Reading staff of the University’s Business Development Unit and Knowledge
                                    Transfer Centre . The day included a focus on what Higher Education institutions have to
                                    offer employers, the business benefits of Higher Level Skills and sources of funding available
                                    for workforce development. Brokers were given the opportunity to raise any concerns they
                                    had around brokering higher level skills. One of the objectives of the workshop was to help
                                    brokers achieve elements of the Skills Broker Standard and support them in their ongoing
                                    Continuing Professional Development.
                                    The day included a ‘virtual’ tour of the University of Reading campus specifically focused on
                                    those areas of the University likely to be of interest to businesses. To take away from the day,
                                    brokers were given a comprehensive broker pack covering the whole of the South East region
                                    and including information about Higher Education, current initiatives in the South East, funding
                                    information and lists of area-specific contacts.
                                    Subsequently, Progress South Central independently delivered a second workshop at the
                                    University of Surrey in October 2008, for Surrey-based Skills Brokers, which also received
                                    positive feedback.

                                    Around 30 brokers attended the two events, including the Area Manager for the Thames
                                    Valley region at the July event.
                                    In advance of the event, delegates were invited to complete a questionnaire which gave them
                                    the opportunity to feed back their current state of knowledge of HE and to state the specific
                                    areas on which they hoped to be better informed as a result of the workshop. None of those
                                    who responded considered themselves to have a good knowledge of the specific aspects of
                                    HE stated, and all rated their level of knowledge prior to the workshop as either Average or
                                    Following the Reading workshop, almost all the feedback indicated that brokers now had a
                                    better understanding of higher level provision and potential progression/development routes
                                    and felt more able to promote the business benefits of Higher Level Skills to employers.
                                    All respondents indicated that the training had been pitched at the right level in terms of
                                    their previous levels of knowledge and understanding, and all indicated that the training had
                                    helped them feel more empowered in certain specified key areas. Brokers were particularly
                                    interested in the continuing relationships that could develop from the Knowledge Transfer
                                    Centre and in the SEED (Summer Enterprise Experience and Discovery) scheme. Regarding                                                                                                    49
     Employer Based Training Accreditation (EBTA), one of the brokers commented that they had
     been asked about EBTA only the previous week and that they now felt in a position to go
     back and answer the questions posed in an informed way.
     Selected comments from delegates:
     “Previously I couldn’t have summed up my knowledge [of Foundation degrees] in one sentence but I
     feel that I can now.”
     “Really useful and comprehensive introduction, thank you!”
     “A thoroughly worthwhile event. Thank you indeed.”

     CPD framework for NHS staff employed in
     bands 1– 4
     Lead organisation
     NHS Education South Central (NESC)

     Additional organisations involved
     Skills Academy for Health

     May 2009

     Project summary
     Progress South Central supported NHS Education South Central to develop a Continuous
     Professional/Personal Development (CPD) Framework for NHS South Central Strategic
     Health Authority staff working at NHS Bands 1 to 4. At a time of a changing labour market,
     extended competition and the need for ever greater cost efficiencies, the project was driven
     by the need to develop a workforce fit for purpose by addressing skills gaps.
     Skills Academy for Health was commissioned to lead a scoping exercise across all 24 hospital
     and primary care trusts within NHS South Central to explore the education and training
     offered to support staff working in roles that are not professionally regulated. The project
     covered staff in clinical and non-clinical jobs with a particular emphasis on the emerging
     Assistant Practitioner role. Data was collected via questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.
     Data from the scoping exercise was then integrated into the existing locally-developed
     framework to produce the first draft of a training needs analysis for the whole SHA. This was
     then used to draft a robust CPD framework for bands one to four that had a wide evidence
     base. The final stage was to develop an evidence-based brief for education commissioners
     in terms of key principles and strategy that will inform education commissioning for this
     important part of the workforce.

     The new CPD Framework for bands one to four will begin to ensure that flexible and
     accredited pathways of learning, both personal and professional, can enable transferability of
     skills and competences between organisations and improve quality assurance, monitoring and
     enhancement of education provision. Although the scope of the project has primarily focused
     on support staff, it has highlighted the significant merit of working towards a CPD framework
     that embraces the whole workforce.
     In November 2009, NHS Education South Central presented the project and led a round-
     table discussion at Progress South Central’s well-attended Health and Social Care Forum .
     The project has attracted a good deal of national interest, promoted not only by NHS South
     Central SHA but also through the activities of Skills Academy for Health.

     For more information
     Skills Academy for Health

                                  Work-based learning
                                  University Centre Aylesbury Vale
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Aylesbury College; Bucks New University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Aylesbury Vale District Council; ATG Training; Aimhigher MKOB; Progress South Central;
                                  University of Bedfordshire

                                  Project summary
                                  University Centre Aylesbury Vale is a pioneering partnership aimed at bringing together higher
                                  education providers and stakeholders in order to provide affordable and relevant university
                                  education within Aylesbury Vale and the surrounding area and, in so doing, make a significant
                                  social and economic contribution to the region.
                                  The Centre is based at Aylesbury College and is led jointly by the College and by Bucks New
                                  University. Progress South Central is a member of the Steering Group, along with Bucks New
                                  University, Aylesbury College, Aylesbury Vale District Council, University of Bedfordshire, ATG
                                  Training and Aimhigher MKOB.
                                  The Centre aims to offer courses validated by universities and national vocational
                                  qualifications, so that people of 18 years of age through to mature students will have a chance
                                  to study university-level courses without having to travel to other regions. The University
                                  Centre Aylesbury Vale is therefore a tremendous opportunity to achieve qualifications and
                                  skills, with full- and part-time options enabling students from a diversity of backgrounds to
                                  participate in higher education.

                                  There were 595 enrolments for UCAV courses in 2009–10, in the following areas: Access to
                                  HE; Business Management; Classroom Support, Early Years, Nursing and Midwifery. Projected
                                  student numbers for 2010–11 were 661, showing continued growth despite the HEFCE
                                  funding cap. As of 2010, Aylesbury Vale is entering a period of forced growth, with a need to
                                  upskill its workforce to develop its knowledge-based economy.

                                  ‘Progression via work‑based learning’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Aimhigher MKOB

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Progress South Central

                                  March 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  In March 2010 Progress South Central and Aimhigher MKOB delivered a joint conference
                                  Progression via work-based learning aimed at practitioners working in the field of information,
                                  advice and guidance. The conference was held at the Oxford Belfry Hotel and was attended
                                  by 73 delegates.                                                                                                     51
“Very useful for
 someone like
 myself who
 had very little
 knowledge of
                     The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of progression to HE via work-based
                     learning, including progression via Foundation degrees, HNCs, professional qualifications and
                     apprenticeships. It offered the opportunity for practitioners to hear more about national
                     policies and support services; to meet with a range of employers and providers; to discuss
                     the issues impacting on progression; and to hear the employers’ perspectives on the value of
                     work-based learning.
                     A summary of the day’s programme:
                     •• The value of progression via work-based learning
                        Adrian Anderson, CE of the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) , presented
                        an overview of the BIS-sponsored review of vocational and applied learning and Higher
                        Education. He presented the rationale for progression based on skills needs, employability
                        and social mobility but highlighted some of the arguments concerning the ‘fitness of
                        purpose’ for progression from Level 3 vocational qualifications. Issues such as part-time
                        funding, IAG and HE programme design were identified as potential barriers to HE
                        progression. Adrian suggested that the critical message for HE and FE was around flexible
                        smaller employer-focused higher level programmes linked to local skills needs, business
                        needs and social mobility.
                     •• The role of the National Apprenticeship Service in supporting progression
                        John Chudley, Regional Director of the National Apprenticeship Service , presented an
                        overview of the NAS and the rationale for continued investment in apprenticeships. He
                        highlighted the Apprenticeship Vacancies service and reviewed current issues such as Level
                        3 to Level 4 progression, the need for greater awareness of Apprenticeship frameworks,
                        the continued need for HE awareness and aspiration-raising amongst work-based learners
                        and the development of innovative/flexible provision. John suggested ways forward,
                        including targeting access to the professions – recognising the issue of social equity through
                        parity of esteem for work-based vocational education and academic full-time education.
                     •• Workshops
                        Workshops were offered by a range of local providers including ATG Training, Henley
                        Training Company, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and Abingdon and Witney College.
                        The workshops offered delegates the opportunity to learn more about local provision and
                        to learn about the range of work-based learning courses offered by their chosen provider.
                     •• Round-table discussions/employer panel
                        The afternoon featured round-table discussions of issues impacting on progression via
                        work-based learning and an employer panel where employers gave their perspectives on
                        work-based learning. Employers represented on the panel included Oxfordshire County
                        Council, BMW Group, Infocene and NESC. The panel addressed questions from the
                        delegates, including on their attitude to taking on older apprentices; the opportunities for
                        expansion of work-based learning and the issues regarding 19+ funding.

                                  A total of 43 delegates provided feedback. Respondents were positive about the day overall,
                                  with over 80% rating the event ‘Good’. One delegate commented on a ‘well put together and
                                  well thought out’ event’. Forty-two out of forty-three respondents (98%) claimed that the
                                  conference had improved their knowledge and understanding – one claiming to have moved
                                  from ‘No knowledge to a level of useful knowledge’.
                                  The employer panel was very well received, with comments including ‘excellent idea’ and ‘very
                                  Other selected comments from delegates:
                                  “Very useful exchange of ideas and information.”
                                  “Excellent opportunity to share ideas and look at alternative ways to organise provision and
                                  “Very useful for someone like myself who had very little knowledge of apprenticeships.”

                                  ‘Building Bridges’
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Moving Ambition

                                  March 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  ‘Building Bridges’ was a one-day conference that took place at Lane End Conference Centre
                                  in March 2010, organised on behalf of Progress South Central by Moving Ambition Ltd. The
                                  conference was designed to attract academics, industry employers, trade associations, Trade
                                  Union representatives and funding bodies to explore, improve and potentially work together
                                  to create new and appropriate higher education progression opportunities for the Building
                                  Services Engineering industry. Additional aims were to examine and improve progression links
                                  between the vocational pathways within schools and colleges to higher education awards and
                                  to foster networking opportunities and closer working relationships between industry and
                                  higher education.
                                  The programme for the day included a presentation from Richard Allen, Chief Executive of
                                  Moving Ambition, of the results of both industry and education research into the services
                                  further and higher education establishments provide in advancing the personnel and training
                                  needs of the Building Services Engineering sector. Graham Manly, Director of Gratte Brothers
                                  and President of HVCA , then presented industry reaction to the research findings and the
                                  HE response to the conclusions of the research was given by Andrzej Ordys and Claire
                                  Arbon of Kingston University . Keith Marshall, Chief Executive of SummitSkills , the Sector                                                                                                  53
     Skills Council for Building Services Engineering, spoke about what the SSC is doing to bring
     employers in the sector and the education community closer together. The final presentation
     was given by Tony Thomas, Visiting Professor of Work-based Learning for the Building Services
     Engineering sector at London South Bank University .

     34 delegates attended the conference, 16 from either universities or colleges of FE and 18
     drawn from employers and sector representative organisations. The original objective for
     the range of delegates to represent an effective balance between industry and educational
     personnel was therefore broadly met.
     Feedback from the delegates was positive. 70% of those feeding back felt that the day had
     helped them gain a better understanding of the scope and guidance on content in providing
     courses at Level 4 and above in Building Services Engineering. All the representatives from
     organisations in the Building Services Engineering industry fed back that they now had a better
     appreciation of the value of closer relationships with HE institutions.
     As a result of the conference, 34 areas for priority attention were identified surrounding
     the relationship between HE and Building Services Engineering, suggesting that a conference
     forum of this type was long overdue. Following the conference, a draft positioning paper
     was compiled of the issues addressed, containing the recommendations and points for
     either industry or academic attention. This document was designed for circulation to national
     HE funding agencies, Government, the sector skills council SummitSkills, as well as to the
     educational unit of The Royal Academy of Engineering to assist policy planning and help inform
     discussions of priorities.

     HE management learning for the building
     services engineering sector
     Lead organisation
     Moving Ambition

     Additional organisations involved
     University of Reading (School of Construction Management and Engineering)

     October 2010

     Project summary
     This project, led by Moving Ambition in partnership with the University of Reading, aimed to
     tackle the identified deficit in customised management training at MSc level by developing
     a validated management module bespoke to the Building Services Engineering sector. It was
     agreed by the University that this would be presented as an option within the established and
     popular MSc in Intelligent Buildings, as well as being capable of being delivered as a stand-
     alone programme of learning for those meeting experience criteria of work within the sector.
     The impetus for this module arose from the earlier joint HE/industry conference ‘Building
     Bridges’, which had identified a need for contextualised learning to improve management and
     supervisory skills in the Building Services Engineering sector.
     An Industry Advisory Group was established, drawn from different industries within the sector.
     It was seen as essential that the membership of this group should comment authoritatively on
     proposed outline content, delivery mechanisms and methods associated with accreditation in
     order to maximise the legitimacy and credibility of the finished work.
     The completed full MSc module award, based upon 10 credits, is dependent upon a minimum
     of a 50 per cent pass in a one hour open book test at the end of the course period, and
     satisfactory completion within six weeks of a maximum 2500-word industrial assignment that
     relates to management and supervisory processes and procedures within the sector. Where

                                  possible, it is seen as desirable that assignment work should be tailored to the employment
                                  situation and circumstances of the candidate.

                                  As of January 2011 the module is going through the University of Reading’s internal
                                  accreditation process. Marketing of the module has been delayed until the accreditation
                                  process is complete. The partners are committed to a further joint meeting to assist such
                                  planning and agree draft copy to be used in both e-literature and print. ECA , HVCA , CIBSE
                                  and SummitSkills have already committed their communication channels to help support
                                  marketing activity being planned by the partners.
                                  Richard Allen, Chief Executive of Moving Ambition, presented work in progress on the project
                                  at meetings of the Careers and Diversity Strategic Advisory Committee during 2010. The
                                  important UK membership of this group expressed great enthusiasm for the work tackled and
                                  thanked partners for their continuing efforts to produce an outcome that would be of value
                                  to the whole sector.
                                  All involved in this project are convinced that the work completed will be of major assistance
                                  to Building Services Engineering employers and employees in addressing key issues that have
                                  been previously stated as holding back professionalism and both effectiveness and efficiency
                                  in the sector. Industry representatives have been keen to work with and assist the partners in
                                  establishing common ground and a benchmark for necessary proficiency.

                                  For more information
                                  Moving Ambition

                                  Support for work‑based learning: a package for
                                  work‑based mentors of Fd students in the health
                                  and social care sector
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Bucks New University

                                  October 2009

                                  Project summary
                                  This project had two aims, both related to supporting those in the workplace acting as
                                  mentors to Foundation degree students:
                                  •• To develop a generic educational audit tool that could be used to assess the
                                     appropriateness of the work-based learning environment to achieving the learning
                                     outcomes of the Foundation degree
                                     A series of focus groups were held with Foundation degree course leaders to explore
                                     whether an educational audit tool would be useful and, if so, what form it should
                                     take. There was agreement that the student experience would be enhanced by the
                                     establishment of an audit tool establishing the suitability of their workplace to support
                                     the student’s learning and meet the requirements of the course. It would also play an
                                     important role in ensuring equity and parity across all courses and enhance the quality
                                     management processes of the Foundation degrees. Due to differences between the
                                     settings of the various Foundation degrees, it was agreed that some required a more
                                     structured educational audit than others. Given this, it was agreed that the audit should be
                                     made available electronically to allow the course team to devise a flexible tool that met
                                     the needs of their course.
                                  •• To develop and validate an educational programme for identified mentors of students
                                     undertaking Foundation degrees in the Health and Social Care sectors
                                     During the project, two educational programmes were developed and delivered for                                                                                                 55
        mentors of Foundation degree-level students and feedback gathered from the students
        and lecturers. The first was a certificated course, ‘Introduction to Enabling Learning’,
        delivered at Level 6 attracting 15 CATS points, and the second was a non-certificated,
        attendance-only four-day course.

     An electronic audit tool was developed and, following approval by the course teams, was
     prepared for trial during 2009/10.
     The certificated course ‘Introduction to Enabling Learning’ was developed as an
     interdisciplinary module. Three mentors attended the course, of which one successfully
     completed. The students experienced some issues with workload and time constraints which
     led to difficulties with attendance and meeting assessment deadlines; in addition, the students
     found the academic level challenging and felt they needed considerable support to reach the
     academic standard required. Feedback from the lecturers also highlighted this issue, and noted
     that students were diverse in educational and work background and starting at different points
     on the lifelong learning continuum. However, all students commented on the value of the
     interdisciplinary forum and learning from each other, and the lecturers found it stimulating and
     challenging to facilitate such a mixed group of professionals. In terms of level and progression
     the students were concerned about their professional development and how they could build
     on the course academically and gain recognition in the workplace. There appears to be a need
     to identify a recognised career pathway for work-based learning mentors to develop their
     mentoring/coaching skills.
     The non-certificated attendance-only course was offered to work-based learning mentors
     across the faculty and five took up the offer. All the students commented positively on the
     interactive work and the value of sharing experience and challenging practice. All commented
     that at the end of the course they were interested in doing an assessed course and further
     formal study, having enjoyed the experience of higher education. The students were keen
     to have the University Certificate of Attendance to add to their Professional Development
     Portfolio and felt that it would be useful to them and their employer in the workplace.

     For more information
     Bucks New University

                                  Higher Education for Slough and East
                                  Berkshire – reaching the right learners
                                  with the right provision
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Thames Valley University

                                  Additional organisations involved
                                  Slough Skills Campaign

                                  June 2010

                                  Project summary
                                  This research aimed to identify gaps in HE provision for young people and adults in Slough
                                  through a study of the mismatch between the jobs available in Slough and the skills held by
                                  the town’s adult population.
                                  Slough is a growing diverse town with a high population of young people, where only 13%
                                  of the population is of pensionable age. Through examining the current supply and demand
                                  from local employers and the local community, steps to skill the local workforce with the right
                                  provision can be established.
                                  The overall aims and objectives of the research study were to:
                                  •• Establish a partnership approach with the local FE college, local authority and TVU to
                                     identify demand-led HE provision for Slough and surrounding communities
                                  •• Produce a systematic study with supply and demand analyses to identify gaps in provision
                                     with recommendations to address that demand
                                  •• Ensure that the research study takes a wide view of stakeholders and captures HE
                                     provision that is focussed on employers and the local community.

                                  The study confirmed that there are a wide range of full-time undergraduate opportunities
                                  that match student and employer demand available within 25 miles and 30 minutes travel
                                  distance from Slough. Over the last 9 years there has been a 49% increase in entrants to
                                  full-time HE from Slough, a much greater increase than for the South East as a whole over the
                                  same period (23%). The strategic gap in the provision of HE for Slough is the lack of work-
                                  based learning opportunities for advancing technical, enterprise and professional capabilities
                                  and for engaging with knowledge transfer and research.
                                  Other findings and recommendations:
                                  •• The research established that there is a lack of students progressing onto advanced
                                     apprenticeships and Foundation degrees, with the gap being particularly notable for
                                     19–24 year olds and for the 25 plus age group. It is important to review the match of the
                                     Foundation degree curriculum and delivery with the advanced apprenticeship programmes
                                     and experiences, and the promotion of apprenticeships must emphasise the opportunities
                                     for progression into HE.
                                  •• It is clear from the research that the opportunities afforded by Foundation degrees
                                     for students and employers need to be more clearly communicated and promoted.
                                     Information, advice and guidance must form a key part of the HE provision for
                                     Slough strategy.                                                                                                 57
     •• It is suggested that a modular approach to HE that embraces work based and blended
        learning as well as face to face contact with lecturers may provide a more accessible and
        effective approach. A key feature is the opportunity for learners to study at a pace and
        place that suits their needs.
     The study recommended developing a ‘hub and spoke’ model that offers a select range of
     local provision at centres in Slough and provides access to a wider range of learning and
     knowledge transfer within 30 minutes travel time from Slough.
     The aim would be to build on the success of the Slough Skills Campaign to develop a multi-
     partner approach embracing public and private sector organisations. This group would provide
     a forum for developing the portfolio, considering the infrastructure needs and promoting the
     provision. The aims would be for Slough residents and communities to have local access to an
     affordable range of vocational programmes in their work place and at the higher education
     centres in Slough but also to be able to draw on more specialist and advanced provision
     within a 30 minute travel time.

     For more information
     Thames Valley University

     An ethnographic study of vocational students
     in FE
     Lead organisation
     University of Reading Institute of Education

     November 2009

     Project summary
     This project aimed to use an ethnographic approach to gain a fuller understanding of:
     •• How students studying vocational courses in FE colleges experience and perceive their
     •• How they are being prepared for either studying at Higher Education or the workplace
     It explored, through focus groups, the experiences of students studying vocational courses in
     FE establishments and, more generally, represented an attempt to focus on the learner voice in
     the context of fast-moving policy development in 14–19 education and training.
     Data was collected between January and June 2009 from 40 students attending two FE
     establishments in the South East of England. In total, ten focus groups were carried out with
     student volunteers on a variety of courses: Hairdressing, Hair and Beauty, Public Services,
     E-media, Computer Gaming, Music and Musical Theatre.
     Data was collected on students’ attitudes to, and experiences of, their current course,
     why they had opted to undertake a vocational pathway and who they had spoken to for
     Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) on the decision-making process. Focus groups also
     explored students’ experiences of school and their plans for the future.

     The research found that the majority of the participating students were finding college to be
     more rewarding and engaging than their previous school experience and almost unanimously
     stated that their relationships with fellow students and tutors contributed significantly to
     this. Students feel respected and supported and, perhaps more importantly, feel a sense of
     autonomy in their learning. In addition to the positive learning experience, the background and
     ‘hands on’ experience of the tutors gave courses a greater credibly, relevance and connection
     to the work place, enhancing significantly students’ opinions overall.

                                  Whilst students discuss with enthusiasm many aspects of studying for a vocational qualification,
                                  some areas of weakness were indentified. In particular, these related to a lack of good IAG in
                                  the process of finding their course, a lack of practical lectures/guest speakers, work experience
                                  and poor organisation of assessment. A lack of information and guidance regarding progression
                                  into higher education was also identified.
                                  On a more implicit level, a sense of academic underachievement appeared to underpin many
                                  of the educational identities of students included in this study. This suggests that for some
                                  students at least, the choice to undertake a vocational course was a last resort for those who
                                  did not deem themselves suitable for A-level study. While many considered the academic
                                  requirements of their vocational course more challenging than traditional courses such as
                                  A-levels, clearly negative stereotypes exist surrounding what type of learner undertakes
                                  a vocational course.

                                  For more information
                                  University of Reading Institute of Education
                                  Link via our web pages to the full project report

                                  What makes work experience work?
                                  Lead organisation
                                  Bracknell & Wokingham College

                                  October 2009

                                  Project summary
                                  This research set out to investigate the employer perspective of work experience in order
                                  to stimulate the offer of more placements for school/college students undertaking health
                                  and social care courses, to meet the anticipated increased demand for work experience for
                                  students undertaking courses in the sector, including Young Apprenticeships, BTEC Diplomas
                                  and the new Diploma in Society, Health and Development.
                                  The project was led by Bracknell and Wokingham College on behalf of the Berkshire Skills
                                  for Care Group. Skills for Care are supporting and promoting the range of opportunities for
                                  young people to experience working in the sector as part of their commitment to raising the
                                  profile of the social care workforce.
                                  The project was in three parts:
                                  •• Data was gathered from six Training Providers regarding demand for their courses, their
                                     experiences in finding work experience placements and their view on what resources
                                     would help. All responded that finding work experience placements was not easy and
                                     that demand for them is likely to increase due to the anticipated increased demand for
                                     places on courses. Due to a number of factors, the same few ‘tried and tested’ employers
                                     tended to be used. Barriers to work placements noted centred around perceived lack of
                                     employer awareness and the administration time involved in complying with legislation and
                                     carrying out risk assessments. The Training Providers surveyed indicated that they would
                                     welcome a resource to support employers so that they understand the requirements and
                                  •• Data was gathered from six employers in the care sector regarding their experience of
                                     student work experience placements, their perception of the barriers to work experience
                                     and the resources that they would like to see available. All of the employers were
                                     supportive of work experience providing that there is the level of support, information
                                     and matching of student to placement. Employers would welcome a simple guide to
                                     school/college-delivered qualifications that require work experience.
                                     An event was held in Reading to bring together employers who had experience of taking
                                     on work experience students and employers who wanted to know more about how                                                                                                 59
        the process worked. The meeting was very positive. Employers were able to share their
        experiences, the type of activities they get the student to do and how the student is best
        supported. However employers are so heavily regulated with CRBs and legislation that
        they are unclear how this impacts on successful work experiences; there needs to be
        more clarity and better guidance so that employers are ‘not afraid’ of taking on a student.
        Employers felt that there are insufficient resources and guides to help overcome many of
        the barriers to supporting work placements.
     •• Case studies of three students following Young Apprenticeships in Health and Social Care
        who had done three-week work placements at Ravenswood Village in Crowthorne, which
        caters for people with learning disabilities.

     The research produced clear guidance on where the barriers are to successful work
     experience placements and what might be done to address these. The report highlighted the
     following recommendations and/or requests from training providers and employers alike:
     •• Clear guidance for employers on curriculum requirements.
     •• Either guidance or workshops across Berkshire to help employers understand the changing
        needs of social care qualifications.
     •• Guidance for employers on how best to support work experience students.
     •• Practical informative guide for training providers.
     •• Promotion of work experience with employers: this should be a dedicated ‘resource
        allocation’ to enable reaching out to employers and support them in understanding and
        embracing work experience practice.

     For more information
     Bracknell & Wokingham College


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