South Devon UTC is proud to celebrate our outstanding connection with local organisations and Exeter University. Indeed our work to connect with employers was acknowledged as an area of excellence by OFTSTED in 2018, “… as a result of the school’s extensive business links, all students found places in education, employment or training when they left”, OFSTED Report 2018.
Employers are keen to engage with our students and are connecting in a range of contexts to ensure that our learners have the added value of inspirational and motivating experiences of industry and the world of work. Our unique relationship with over 80 local employers has been developed initially through the work of the “Employer Engagement Officer” and continues to grow through the “Connected Employers” strategy for 2019/20.
Ability to Engage Employers and Leaders in Industry
The recommendations from the Wolf report, and the refreshing focus by the DfE and other stakeholders on the need to develop a technically capable, creative and communicative work-force aligns exactly strategic direction to implemented a programme of Employer Engagement. Our partners have enabled the college to celebrate a breadth of high quality and progressive destinations for our leavers and continues to gain a substantive reputation for presenting skillful problem-solvers with professional attributes and competencies that are in huge demand in the South Devon area. With emphasis on employability, professionalism and collaboration, employers are becoming increasingly involved in the work that we do to prepare young people for employment and further training.
IMPACT: The impact of engaging, challenging and academically relevant work-related learning and work experience is evident as over 70% of Science and Engineering Level 3 learners gained Distinction* grades.
Employers raising aspirations, increasing learner motivation and instilling drive and determination.
“High-quality careers education and guidance” and a “close relationship between the school and the local business community, along with strong university links, ensuring that pupils’ aspirations are high” (South Devon UTC OFSTED Report, 2018) has encouraged our learners to adopt a driven and purposeful approach to their learning. This, along with rigorous quality assurance processes have ensured that participation by employer partners meets our expected standards and evaluative procedures have improved learner experience when on work experience and other work-related activities resulting in impactful and meaningful connections with organisations, businesses and higher education providers. The South Devon UTC Work Experience programme is personalised and valued by students and has enabled a significant number of leavers to gain employment with school partners.
IMPACT: Many UTC leavers in 2017 and 2018 achieved or surpassed their target grades and have moved on to appropriately challenging destinations, examples of which include Degree Level Apprenticeship Hinkley Point, Higher and Advanced Level Apprenticeships with South West Water, MB Aerospace, Centrax and The Royal Navy and studies in a range of Undergraduate study.
A Connected Curriculum driven by Employer Needs
South Devon UTC curriculum pathway has been designed to encompass the academic challenge of Maths and Science, with the Extended Project qualification and BTEC qualifications in Applied Science and Engineering. The curriculum aims to appeal to capable young people who have a tendency to lean to the practical and scientific specialisms and raises awareness of the value of technical skills and aims to ensure that young people are equipped for life and that young people gain the skills, knowledge and experience that employers need.
As a STEM specialist Engineering and Science specialist college, we are acutely aware of the challenges we face to establish a high quality programme of technical learning that will encourage capable and creative young people to opt-in to an employer-focussed learning pathway.
IMPACT: Employers who actively engage to push forward the training and development of young people are gaining the benefit of a professional, communicative and capable future work-force. Our staff, employer-partners, parents and students have directly witnessed the impact that high quality employer engagement has on the development of professionalism, drive and confidence in young people and our industry-partners have every confidence that we will continue to produce a high calibre of school-leaver equipped with aptitude, motivation and drive. We strive for improved provision in the vocational 14-19 sector and welcome the fresh focus on the technical education.