Chamber Matters: Education and Employability
Published 26 Feb 2016Following the recent Caithness Jobs Event 2016, Chamber Director Donald MacBeath outlines ways in which North Highland College UHI is working to improve employability through further education.
At North Highland College UHI, our priority is to create a challenging learning environment which prepares our students for meaningful employment and instils a passion for further career development.
We recognise that academic success alone cannot fully prepare our students for the world of work and so we have developed course delivery models which feature real-life workplace activities and learning. The co-delivery of courses between educators and employers provides a well-rounded experience for students, outlining career pathways and opportunities whilst helping them understand the ethos of the workplace. New approaches involve employers as active partners in designing, delivering and assessing the curriculum, creating new roles and responsibilities beyond those offered by traditional short-term work placements. Many employers have been keen to help shape the development of the future workforce, and the Chamber is working hard to enable employers and education providers to work together through its Developing the Young Workforce initiative.
In the Hospitality area, our Chef Mentoring Scheme enables full-time Professional Cookery students to enhance their skills with regular work experience in working kitchens. Through the scheme, employers and college staff plan how best to help students become truly work-ready. This also affords employers the benefit of having an additional team member on board and the opportunity to see a prospective future employee in action – something very much in the student’s interest as well.
The Health & Social Care sector will generate increased employment opportunities in the Highlands in the years ahead, presenting a challenge to colleges and employers to work collaboratively to ensure a supply of occupationally competent employees in our area. A new course for 2016/17 will allow full-time students to secure the vocational qualifications necessary for registration to work in the care sector through a combination of college and workplace learning. Care employers recognise the need to help young people attain the certification required to enter and progress within the sector.
Finally, I am delighted to confirm that from September, local young (and not-so-young) people can now complete both the degree and post graduate professional qualifications required for Primary teaching through the University of the Highlands & Islands at the North Highland College. This opportunity has been enabled by a partnership of lecturers supported by Highland Council staff to provide the necessary blend of academic study and teaching practice in local schools. I truly hope that budding teachers who have previously been deterred from pursuing their aspirations by having to study away from their home location will take advantage of this exciting breakthrough.
As a college leader, I am greatly encouraged by the commitment of our industry partners to help deliver the best educational service for the communities in the North Highlands and, as a Chamber Director, I am delighted that the Chamber is playing a lead role in enabling employers and education providers to work together. So, whether you are reading this as a prospective student wishing to find out more about learning opportunities or as an employer keen to find out more about becoming a delivery partner, please let us know!