Sometimes “pop-up” provision can meet longer term needs while also having the responsiveness to address short-term challenges along the way.
Lloyd Davis, head of curriculum for construction and Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) at West London College, says that this is what the West London Construction Academy is achieving.
The training centre came about through the college’s relationship with property developer the Berkeley Group as part of a 25-year regeneration project. While the project is not exactly short-term, the training centre aims to be flexible to meet changing local needs.
“After [we identified] employment rates and industry demand through labour market intelligence relating to the construction and engineering sector, the pop-up college was commissioned to support the development of Southall Waterside,” Davis says. “It is a great fit, especially as it would cater to students and professionals alike.
“We need to think and adapt to the changing needs of a business. FE always needs to be responsive to the needs of the industry. We spend a lot of time meeting with and listening to employers and learners so that [the West London Construction Academy] is not only reactive to their needs but also innovative in its approach to meeting the needs of the economy in the future.”
Projects of this kind challenge traditional models of learning, Davis believes. “To be successful, the right research with employers had to be done to ensure that the wider sector’s employment and industry needs were met alongside delivering for the local communities that the college serves,” he says.