The College's work with employers to design and deliver the curriculum, as well as its work with high needs learners, were both deemed as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted following their inspection visit to the College's campuses in Derby city and Erewash in March (2016). The Ofsted annual report, published this week, includes a page-long case study highlighting the College's successes in bridging the gap between education and employment. The report is drawn from the findings of 25,000 Ofsted inspections of schools, colleges and providers of early years and further education and skills over the past year.
Derby College was one of 311 colleges inspected during the year and was one of just 57 colleges classed as 'Good'. The case study outlines Derby College's success in forming partnerships with employers to create employment and skills and employer academies. It describes how these are made up of a group of local employers from specific sectors as well as individual employers who have a dedicated cohort of learners without their academy. The College has 15 employment and skills academies across as many sectors with 300 active board members who assist with curriculum design and delivery. They work in partnership to ensure that the curriculum delivered through apprenticeships and study programmes assists the learners to develop employability and enterprise skills as well as delivering the extra-curricular employment engagement activities.
Every learner/apprentice, whether attached to a specific employer or an employment and skills academy, participates in these activities throughout the duration of their learning, specific to the sector in which they have chosen to study.
In total, 2,700 employers have assisted in delivering activities such as work placements, specialist speakers, masterclasses, visits and projects.
In addition to the employment and skills academies, the college has more than 20 specific employer academies. Each employer interviews learners who apply to work in their academy and pledges to give a formal interview with the chance of gaining employment or an apprenticeship after their full-time studies.The purpose of the employer academies is to work closely with the employer to give the students specific knowledge and skills aligned to the needs of the employer, preparing the learners to make a smooth transition from education to work.
In addition to the extra-curricular activities, learners/apprentices also undertake entrepreneurial and enterprise activities with a dedicated board of employers and entrepreneurs. Over 1,000 students have taken part in projects to date and all students have embedded enterprise activities within their studies supported by the enterprise board.
Derby College Chief Executive Mandie Stravino commented: "Our work with employers was particularly singled out for praise by Ofsted and we are delighted that our work has been highlighted as the main case study in Sir Michael Wilshaw's annual report. "Our role as a College is to provide learners with the skills, attitudes and employability skills to progress onto the next stage of their lives – whether that is to higher education, work or self employment. "We are also committed to working in partnership with employers to ensure that we are providing them and indeed all businesses with the skilled workforce that they need both today and in the future. "This work is vital to address potential skills shortages, increase their competitive edge and achieve growth and job creation."