Harrogate College calls White Paper ‘step forward’ for FE sector

22 February, 2021 9:56 am

Harrogate College has welcomed the government’s Skills for Jobs White Paper, calling it a ‘step forward’ that will benefit both young people who are starting their careers and adults who may be thinking of retraining or returning to education.

One of the features of the reforms is to offer adults a range of new prospects, giving tens of thousands the opportunity to retrain in later life. It will also help them gain in-demand skills and open up further job options. This includes the chance for any adults without a full Level 3 qualification (A level equivalent), to gain one from April 2021 for free in a range of sectors including engineering, health and accountancy.

Harrogate College is in the process of establishing a higher level technical skills programme that not only complements the vision outlined in the white paper, but also meets the higher level skills demand that exist in Harrogate from the current labour market intelligence. 

Danny Wild, Principal of Harrogate College, said: “In the future, students will have the opportunity to take more modular courses, which make full use of online teaching and blended learning. This in turn, will make them more accessible and convenient for those who sign up for them.

“Harrogate College has been proactive in addressing the gaps since the start of the pandemic, with a particular focus on students, employers and communities. The government putting skills at the centre of its agenda is welcomed as it indicates how vital colleges and further education will be in levelling up for people and places, whilst taking measures to address productivity.

“The white paper recognises that the skills for jobs needs to be industry-led, which is something that Harrogate College has been focusing on and developing over the last 18 months, with the college looking to deliver the new industry standard T Levels for 16 year olds from September 2022  in science, digital, health and care, finance and construction. 

“The strength of these courses are the partnerships the college has with industry to give our students relevant work placements with key industries across the district while completing their studies.”

The college recently launched the Harrogate College Employers’ Network to bring employers into the college to help support them with their skills gaps and to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and meets market demand. 

Danny added: “The work we’re doing with employers and stakeholders to develop a curriculum that meets local needs is in alignment with the government’s recent paper and reflects the college’s intention to have an employer/industry led curriculum to ensure businesses are getting employees with the skills they need.

“The white paper is a really positive step towards addressing skills gaps; the key to the success of it will be working with businesses to influence a collaborative industry-led curriculum that supports life-long learning. It is an ambitious package but I believe it can deliver a significant shift in the way we support or address education and skills needs, not just on a local level but on a national level.”