Please see below for the latest Employer and Skills news within West Yorkshire.
Increasing productivity with Degree Apprenticeships
Leeds Trinity University's Degree Apprenticeships are designed with the employer and learner at the core and its work-based learning framework provides a streamlined and flexible way to bring new skills into your business.
Apprenticeship Developments at Bradford College
Bradford College is developing a number of higher level and degree level apprenticeships in Management and Leadership, Education and Health and Social Care.
Supporting students without family support at the University of Leeds
This year the University of Leeds has officially launched its StandAlone pledge which outlines our commitment to supporting estranged students.
Estranged students are studying without the support or approval of a family network. Estrangement can be caused by a wide range of issues from abuse, honour-based violence or forced marriage, to clashes in religious or political beliefs, LGBT* issues, or even just attending university against the family’s wishes.
Estranged students face particular challenges in accessing student finance, lack traditional support networks, and are at high risk of homelessness, especially during vacations or as they finish their course. StandAlone - a charity that supports estranged adults – has challenged all institutions to develop their support for such students to enable them to succeed in higher and further education.
Our work on the pledge began with auditing the support already available to estranged students. For example, the University of Leeds already has many successful schemes from which estranged students could also benefit including the Access to Leeds alternative admissions scheme, scholarships and financial support, vacation activity schemes like ‘Christmas at Leeds’, and the Plus Programme which offers support during the transition to university and while on course. We also have a dedicated contact for estranged students.
This process enabled us to identify areas where we could do more as part of our pledge. One key development has been the creation of a package of accommodation support for estranged students, which includes a guaranteed place in University residences for 365 days a year, as well as a waiver of the security deposit until their student loan is received.
Other new initiatives have included:
working with our outreach teams to better communicate the support available to prospective students and their teachers;
developing webpages with dedicated advice for estranged students;
working to improve access to summer vacation grants; and
collaborating with our student union to raise awareness and to facilitate the emergence of a student-led network or support group.
Throughout the autumn term we’ve been working hard to raise awareness of the issue of estrangement among both staff and students. We’ve held staff briefings and drop-in sessions, had articles in both staff and student newsletters, distributed postcards across the university, and had an email signature campaign.
We’re already seeing results with significantly more students coming forward to access the support available and increasing numbers of enquiries and referrals from staff members too.
The pledge commitment also involved a group of estranged students meeting with Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education to share their experiences and ideas for where more support could be offered. As a result we’ve already extended our pledge commitments to introduce support for graduation costs, agreed to fast-track the payment of scholarships to estranged students, and we’re working on providing extra assistance with both the logistics of moving to university and planning for life after university.
For the University of Leeds signing the pledge has been a catalyst for raising awareness of the challenges that university life can present for estranged students and bringing people together across the institution to create change.
GHWY is collaboratively working on encouraging all partner institutions to develop their Stand Alone pledges for the following academic year, incorporating the lessons learnt thus far.
Katherine Butler, Educational Engagement, University of Leeds
The benefits of employing students and graduates
We’ve all read plenty in the press in recent years claiming graduates can’t find work; they aren’t ready for full time employment; their skills do not match employer needs; or they all want to move to London. Despite what the media reports, the reality is very different and there has never been a better time for businesses in West Yorkshire to embrace new graduate talent!
Partners going higher with Channel 4
Go Higher West Yorkshire’s partners are well prepared to support the growth of a skilled workforce to Channel 4, which recently announced it will be opening its new national HQ in Leeds.
Leeds College of Building success at national BTEC awards
Leeds College of Building has been named BTEC Apprenticeship Provider of the Year, Three of its higher apprentices have also taken home awards.
Degree Apprenticeships on the rise in West Yorkshire
Partners are gearing up to deliver an increased number of degree apprenticeships across our region. This has been made possible through the highly innovative and fruitful ‘Driving Social Mobility through Degree Apprenticeships’ project.
A Flying Start study at Huddersfield University
GHWY partner University of Huddersfield has been involved in an award-winning project to support the transition and retention of new students. The OfS-funded Catalyst-Funded collaboration between the Universities of Huddersfield, Lincoln, Coventry and Manchester Metropolitan 'Intervention for Success' scooped both the Guardian HE Award for Curriculum and Course Design 2018, and the Social Justice Prize at the 2018 SCUTREA conference.
Education the answer to future skills challenges
Employers, educators and policymakers need to collaborate more closely to address skills needs, according to a new Universities UK report.
In order to meet the rapid pace of change driven by factors such as technological advances it will be necessary for them to adopt more flexible partnerships, different modes of delivery, quicker responses, and new combinations of skills and experience.
‘Solving Future Skills Challenges’ also highlights the need for greater work experience provision and calls for more flexibility within the student funding system.
Read the full report.
The Impact of Family Estrangement
Work by the GHWY partnership to develop a collaborative Stand Alone pledge has been backed-up by a new research paper.
Estranged young people (18-24 year olds studying without the support and approval of a family network) have been highlighted as a vulnerable group.
Unstable housing, financial difficulties, and an inability to prioritise their course of study have a negative impact on the chances of estranged young people succeeding in higher education.
The report concludes that poverty is the prime reason for such students to discontinue their education, and urges institutions to think innovatively about how to offer better support.
Recommendations include Higher Education institutions becoming part of the corporate parenting structure for estranged young people, and introducing a specific bursary to help them afford accommodation over the summer period. GHWY partners are responding to the needs of this group of young people through pledging whatever support they can offer in key areas.
Read the full paper in Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning.
Next month its Estranged Students Solidarity Week and we'll be raising awareness across the partnership.
University of Bradford Summer Experience Awards: We are all winners!
It is 5pm on the day of the University of Bradford’s Summer Experience Awards & Networking Evening. Speakers are booked, the buffet laid out, name badges await collection, the photographer is ready and waiting, and balloons reach for the ceiling tugging at their weights. Everything is in place for a fabulous celebration of the work students have produced for their internship hosts.
The event is the culmination of the 2018 Summer Experience programme, an intense project with over 250 students competing for approximately 65 vacancies involving three months of ardent activity by the team to identify opportunities, process CVs and organise interviews.
Besides the administration of the selection process there is the task of engaging students, supporting them to produce effective CVs and preparing them for their first ever employment interviews. A few months later, the annual Awards & Networking Evening is when we get to showcase the fantastic talent that they have demonstrated in the workplace.
Students and employers start to arrive, and the room fills quickly. Excited chatter rises as many of the interns see their internship providers for the first time since the last day of their placement. Guest speakers - Bradford Council’s Strategy Manager for Employment & Skills, our DVC Academic, a participating employer and a student - arrive and mingle with the students and employers involved in this year’s programme.
Soon we move to the Auditorium for the presentation of awards. Our speakers are appreciative of both sponsoring organisations’ support for the programme and students’ efforts, reminding us of the importance of graduates to the local economy, and themselves what it was like for them at earlier stages in their own careers.
As we move into the awards ceremony, anticipation silences the room. Winners and highly commended are announced for each award - the result of long deliberations by the judges over nominations from employers and students. As winners are invited on stage to collect their award from our DVC, a pen picture of their achievements is read out to their fellow students and colleagues gathered in the audience - all are remarkable and many have far excelled the expectations of their hosts. Some make massive savings to their host business or devise new ways of working, others perform research tasks that are beyond our comprehension. Students who have never worked before blossom and become valued contributors to the business. All of them have learnt so much about themselves. The Awards provide the final feel good factor for all involved and build a sense of achievement in participating students as they move into their new academic year.
Over the past four years, through the Summer Experience programme, almost 300 students have benefited from paid work experience during the summer enabling them to develop valuable employability skills. A number of these students have continued with their summer internship provider as part-time members of staff or returned to work in the organisation full-time upon graduation, such is the impact they made as an intern. Overall analysis shows that the graduate employment rate of students who have undertaken internships as part of the Summer Experience programme is significantly higher than the overall University statistic. This is a programme where truly everyone is a winner.
Alison Hedley, Employer & Placement Services Manager, University of Bradford
Go Higher in West Yorkshire
No-one should be limited from accessing and succeeding in higher education because of their background.
This shared ethos underpins the work of Go Higher West Yorkshire, a group of 12 higher education providers. And working collaboratively means our voice is stronger and our reach wider in West Yorkshire and beyond.
Our collaborative approach has helped us to achieve many shared goals. These include:
Securing funding for innovative bids, such as the National Collaborative Outreach programme, and the Degree Apprenticeship Development project.
Sharing good ideas and best practice, via our sub groups and through a series of Good Practice Programme events.
Giving partners a stronger voice with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Chambers of Commerce.
The successful launch of the collaborative Care Leaver Covenant, helping to access a previously hard to reach group of young people.
Regional representation on varied groups including the Skills Network.
Collaborating on the delivery of OfS requirements, such as collaborative Access Agreements and Access and Participation Plan targets.
We’ll keep you up to date on our work via our website and newsletter.