Why college collaboration is key to Covid-19 recovery

Principal Ken Thomson explains how a college collaboration is working with employers to boost economic recovery
17th December 2020, 11:58am
Ken Thomson

Share

Why college collaboration is key to Covid-19 recovery

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/why-college-collaboration-key-covid-19-recovery
Research: He Must Work In 'close Collaboration' With Fe

The Scottish college sector, as a whole, will be at the front line of the nation's recovery from the economic effects of the current pandemic.

In June this year, I and three other principals - who regularly work closely together, as well as being based at colleges geographically close to each other - started thinking and planning about how to boost our efforts to make sure our education and training needs are fit for purpose in the months ahead. 

The East Central Scotland Colleges Collaboration consists of Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian and Forth Valley College - where I work as principal. In discussion with my three peers, we realised that as we enter 2021, there would be an urgent need for upskilling, reskilling, training and new ways of delivering learning, and we wanted to respond proactively with solutions specific to the needs of our communities.


News: College funding 'should be uncoupled from student numbers'

More: Why this maths teacher dresses as a Christmas cracker

Christmas: Why our students are feeding the homeless


We knew each college in our collaboration could offer various specialist courses and training for a wide range of areas, and in putting our collective heads together we came up with a number of products based not on what we think employers will want in this time but - through discussion with them - it's what we know they need.

Coronavirus: Working with employers to boost economic recovery

Together our colleges have assembled a team who have liaised with senior Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Funding Council staff, to access the essential labour market intelligence focused on our regional areas, to develop a breadth of specialisms that will be essential for our local areas to recover.

Through a blended learning model of online and face-to-face teaching, the new training targets the hardest hit groups, from school leavers and apprentices who have been let go due to the lockdown to those who have been made redundant and those who need to retrain to meet the needs of an economy. 

Accelerator HNCs, which normally last a full year, will start in January 2021 and end in June. We will offer skills boost short courses focusing on core, digital and employability skills. In addition, short accredited six- to 12-week courses will help to transition people into a new job by identifying and developing their transferable skills. All have been identified as critical by employers and vital for the workforce going forward, and our collaboration will be on the front line delivering them.

Partnerships with industry

This proactive response to the Scottish economic crisis is in addition to all our own full-time, part-time, evening and commercial courses that we offer. We are sure it will offer opportunities for growth while at the same time further strengthening partnerships with industry.

This is college collaboration at its best and a chance to make learning work for the people of the Central Belt and the East of Scotland and to help the country on the road to economic, educational and social recovery.

Dr Ken Thomson is the principal of Forth Valley College

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters