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UNITING CITY COLLEGE PLYMOUTH WITH BUSINESS | AUTUMN 2011
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The Employability Agenda Enabling Work-Ready Students
City College Plymouth Kings Road, Devonport, Plymouth, PL1 5QG T: 01752 305026 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cityplym.ac.uk/employers
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If you require this newsletter in a larger type or different format please telephone 01752 305300.
From the Editor
Welcome to the latest edition of EmployerLink; City College Plymouth’s newsletter for employers. Our focus in this edition is on the employability agenda and how the College is supporting its students in enabling them to gain the skills so desired by employers.
This involves us working closely with key partners, and in particular, with the business community in order to be able to offer a range of employability activities, such as work experience and employer lectures. Read more about employability and how you could get involved in our lead article on page one. Over the summer months the College has been a hive of activity, with a major refurbishment programme taking place across a number of areas, including our construction and hospitality facilities. The Kings Road tower block has also received a
makeover with its seven stories being encased in an ultramodern steel mesh - read more about the refurbishment programme on page two.
The calendar of employer events which we ran in 2010/11 proved very popular - see what we have in store for the coming year on page five.
We have been working closely with regional employer, Caretime Services, in order to support their training needs - read how City College Plymouth has successfully supported and worked with the company in our employer case study on page three.
I hope you enjoy reading your copy of EmployerLink. We aim to keep you informed with all the latest education and training news, but if there is a topic you would like to see covered please contact the editor via e-mail at email@example.com.
The College’s Employer Response team received fabulous feedback following a survey of clients - read more on how we scored with employers on page four.
Sharron Robbie Editor
Message from the Principal
These are tough times for young people searching for jobs after leaving education. And apparently tougher in Plymouth too, with the number of jobless rising by over 500 in the past year bucking a national trend which has seen unemployment fall. This makes it even more important during the recession for young people to gain vital employability skills and experience of the workplace whilst in education, so they are better equipped to compete in the increasingly tough jobs market after completing their studies.
While embedding the development of employability into high quality teaching and learning is central to ensuring students develop employability skills, there is a further factor that sets employability skills apart - the role of employers. Access to work experience placements and valuable vocational projects, visits and experiences are vital and bring benefits to both the student and the business. This is why it is important for education organisations and businesses to continue to do more to meet the pent-up demand that exists among students for doing work placements during their qualification, and developing the skills they know will be crucial in getting a good job. There’s no substitute for experience gained directly on-the-job and offering placements can be a cost effective route to recruitment.
Headway is being made, as the skills and attributes that will help students get jobs and manage their careers over a lifetime are currently being developed as part of the broader education experience. We are working with a range of employers, via our Employer Endorsement Scheme, and other organisations across the city, to ensure that our students gain these important employability skills. The College’s investment in a new facility, theworkspace, highlights this focus on supporting students during their time with us to gain not only academic and vocational qualifications but those softer skills which employers desire.
Of course there are no absolute guarantees in life, but it’s clear that employers look more positively on students who have developed a range of skills. Therefore, young people need to make the most of what is available to them and education organisations need to show how their courses can help students secure employment. There are also responsibilities for businesses to expand opportunities to gain work experience. Much of this is underway - the challenge is to do more and to do it better!
All of which is now more important than ever, as education organisations - and their students will be key to the UK’s growth path Viv Gillespie Principal out of recession.
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City College Plymouth Supporting Employability Employability what is it? The government continues its approach with promoting employability through a focus on raising skill levels, working on reducing long-term unemployment and by reducing barriers to labour mobility. The following definition comes from the Centre for Employability, University of Central Lancashire and states that employability is: “A set of skills, knowledge and personal attributes that make an individual more likely to secure and be successful in their chosen occupation(s) to the benefit of themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.” With widening participation it has become ever more critical to ensure that students gain additional skills in order to compete effectively in the labour market. Employers can afford to pick only the very best for their organisations and are looking for employees who can demonstrate, amongst other attributes: • good communication skills • the ability to work as part of a team • effective time management. With rising unemployment, and an increasingly competitive market place, it is imperative that those who are undertaking training should be given every opportunity to gain and hone skills which will help support their entry into work and thus ultimately support the economic well-being of the country.
What City College Plymouth is doing The College has long been aware of the necessity for its students to gain not only academic results but also a set of softer skills which really add value to their education and training. These softer skills are an essential requirement by employers as they mean students are entering the workplace ready for work and with a real understanding of their worth and value to an employer.
The College’s hugely successful Employer Endorsement Scheme has now been running for two years and has grown to encompass 33 local, regional and national employers. The latest members of the scheme include: • Boringdon Hall Hotel • Interlube • Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club • Riverford Field Kitchen • The Apollo Group. The support and positive engagement the College has with its employer endorsers has enabled activities which really support our aim in ensuring that students have access to, and are able to, obtain a range of employability skills which set them apart from the competition when looking for employment. To that end the College has launched a brand new facility at its Kings Road site, theworkspace. Opened at the start of the new academic year, theworkspace will act as the central hub to source and manage a range of employability activities - from employer visits and lectures, to work experience placements and volunteering. The centre will continue to work closely with its existing employer endorsers and aims to ensure the continued growth of this innovative scheme, via greater links with employers across the region and into Europe. Students will be able to gain an insight into a range of professions, providing them with an understanding of what it is like to do a particular job or follow a particular career path, as well as giving them opportunities to gain valuable work and inter-personal skills via their involvement with real-life workbased projects and community activity. We aim to ensure that students at City College Plymouth get the experience and skills they need to find rewarding and satisfying employment on completion of their studies. To help us achieve this we need to build and strengthen our existing employer relationships and to look to expand our engagement with new sectors so that we can forge links between education and training and the business community in order to provide a holistic approach to the employability agenda.
Benefits to business The focus on employability and in ensuring students leave with not only academic qualifications but softer skills, such as good inter-personal skills, bring many benefits to business, including: • a pool of labour, which is work-ready • a workforce which is enthusiastic and committed to achieving • staff who want to work in your industry and who want to succeed. These benefits support business through improved customer service, greater productivity and increased staff retention, all of which lead to an improved bottom line.
How you can get involved As an employer you can get involved in a number of ways, including: • joining our Employer Endorsement Scheme • giving a short presentation on your particular job role • enabling a site visit for students to your premises • coaching and mentoring of a workbased project • offering work experience opportunities • providing your latest full and parttime vacancies to us for promotion.
The amount of time and commitment organisations are able to give is entirely up to them, the College would be delighted to hear from any organisation wishing to join us in supporting the workforce of the future gain the skills and knowledge to ensure individual, organisational and community success. If you would like to get involved with our scheme or to find out more please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sharron Robbie, Corporate Relations Manager on 01752 305896.
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College Refurbishment Programme Over the summer months the College has undergone a major refurbishment programme which has seen the re-cladding of the Kings Road tower block, the partial refurbishment of the College’s construction block, new teaching kitchens and demonstration areas in the hospitality block, and the reconfiguration and refurbishment of the main reception area to include the new College employability centre, theworkspace. The programme of works ensures that the College has facilities which are as up-to-date as possible, providing students with state-of-the-art workshops and training areas, all of which help contribute to establishing the College as a key element of the social and economic regeneration of Plymouth.
The tower block The College’s Kings Road tower block has been part of the city’s skyline since the 1970s and has now been re-clad in order to visually enhance the building’s appearance, transform the existing proportions and create a more sustainable learning environment. The building is being clad with a curved rain screen mesh - ventilation which combines strength, durability and zero maintenance, making it the perfect choice for the building.
The construction block This has seen the demolition of the mezzanine floors and small rooms to create new modern open plan workshops. The new layout allows for a clustering of the trade spaces, linking into new trade excellence display areas. The newly refurbished centre features the ABB Energy Centre, which showcases the latest technologies in renewable energies including, solar thermal, photovoltaics, heat pumps and biomass. The increase in the use of, and the interest in, new technologies is something we as the largest training provider in the Plymouth travel-to-work-area are very aware of - we play a vital role in ensuring
that students leave the College ready for work. The rise in industries seeking employees who are skilled in new technologies means that the College has to ensure that it can provide the right training environment in order to support labour market needs - our new construction facility will enable this. The excellent relationships we have with industry have enabled us to receive a large amount of support from industry leaders who all recognise the importance of the project. The College is extremely grateful to the following sponsors: • • • • • • •
ABB Aramark Atkins Design Cowlin Brewers British Gypsum Cengage Learning • Dalton Wadkins • Drayton Controls • GOSS Interactive
• Irwins • iTscreens Ltd • KNX • LED Zip • MultiMarque • Otter Nurseries • SPAX UK • Third Man • Western Electrical • Worcester Bosch.
We envisage the new centre playing a pivotal role in supporting the training and skilling of the workforce required by these new and exciting technologies. It will become a hub for industry, with centre partners being able to use conference and workshop space to promote products and engage with clients.
The hospitality block The College’s training kitchens have also received a major make-over with two kitchens being fully refurbished for the training of professional chefs and one for school aged students considering a career within the industry. All the kitchens have state-of-the-art industrial and commercial equipment which offers students an amazing opportunity to learn in an environment which is as near to being in industry as possible. Part of the project has been to include a 45-seat demonstration kitchen. Offering all the latest technology, including video and
Trade excellence area - wood trades
television feeds and playback, students and industry insiders will be able to enjoy cookery demonstrations from a range of local and regional chefs before enjoying the results in our Cité Restaurant. Our hospitality students are highly regarded by the industry with many going on to work in the most high profile kitchens in the region and beyond. The refurbishment programme of the hospitality block will further enhance the skills and training of students, another way in which the College supports the focus on helping students gain employment following their studies. The College’s investment in its facilities is one that supports its long-term vision of creating a greener and more environmentally friendly learning environment at our Kings Road site in Devonport. The programme of works will also support the city and the region by providing learning and training facilities, which are modern and well thought out in order to inspire learning and success.
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Employer Case Study - Caretime Services A recent press report highlighted the fact that the elderly population of Plymouth is set to increase by 50% over the coming years. This rise will see an increase in demand for the services being offered by the care sector. City College Plymouth is working closely with a number of employers, in both private and public sectors, in order to support the skills and training of this vital workforce.
Caretime community care worker, Marie Conacher, said: “I started my NVQ seven months ago and I am thoroughly enjoying the learning experience - the College staff are really helpful and supportive.” Marie continued: “I wanted to gain a formal qualification in health and social care in order to help me carry out my duties as effectively and efficiently as possible. I feel that the training I have received is not only benefitting me, but also the company and its clients.”
SKILLS FOR LIFE If you or your staff are feeling a bit rusty or need help updating your skills in English and maths then City College Plymouth can help. • All courses are FREE. • No entry qualifications are needed. • Students are given a personal programme of work, tailored to their needs. • Students are encouraged to take nationally recognised qualifications. • The courses run subject to numbers and can be delivered within your workplace if there is enough interest. To find out more call 01752 305300.
When Caretime Services wanted to ensure its team of carers and support workers received the very best training, it turned to City College Plymouth. With more than 300 staff employed from three offices across the region, Caretime Services needed to be confident in its training partner when considering a largescale training programme for its workforce. The company’s workforce delivers high levels of domiciliary care to clients with duties ranging from personal care, light housework and shopping, through to providing company and contact for individuals. The company employs experienced carers, where it can, and ensures that all its staff undertake mandatory training before visiting clients. In order for Caretime to ensure its workforce is qualified to the levels required by the Care Quality Commission, they have worked closely with the College to implement a programme, which has seen 34 members of staff enrol on an National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 in Health and Social Care.
The College was able to support Caretime with both funding and on-thejob assessments; this supported the business by providing financial support and by causing as little disruption to the company’s operational activities as possible. Tracey Lewis, Training Officer with Caretime, said: “The training that City College Plymouth has provided has really been embraced by our staff. We have seen individuals blossom and seen rising levels of staff confidence and motivation.” Tracey continued: “The College have gone out of their way to support us - I would have no hesitation in recommending them to another employer. The College really listened to our business needs and provided a solution that was practical, easily implemented and which is showing benefits to the company already.”
Would your business benefit from a more skilled and well trained workforce? Would you like to find out more about City College Plymouth and how it can help YOUR business? The College’s Employer Response team provides a single point of contact for employers. Their professional service includes: • help with accessing funding • training needs analysis • design of bespoke training to meet your company’s specific needs.
Our recent employer survey highlighted that 85% of employers rated our service as very good or good, and 96% of respondents said that the training we offer provides good value for money. If you would like to see how your business could benefit from working with City College Plymouth please contact us on 01752 305026 or e-mail email@example.com.
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University Technical College Plymouth When construction student, Marley Raymond, stepped onto the Plymouth Life Centre site to undertake his first day’s work experience as part of the College’s initiative with Balfour Beatty, he was not expecting to leave with an offer to undertake an Adult Apprenticeship with leading south west tiling firm, Wellswood Ceramics. Marley is now employed by John Kennedy, MD with Wellswood Ceramics, who said: "I was really impressed with the student who came to do work experience with my company. He worked really hard, had great skill, and was enthusiastic. He was a great ambassador for the College and I was so impressed that I offered him a permanent position! The College is doing a great job in ensuring that their students really are ready for the world of work.” Remember, Apprenticeships now cover a huge range of work sectors and are not just limited to vocational trades. Some of the Apprenticeships we offer include: • boat building • business administration • customer service • information technology • laboratory technicians • plastering. • vehicle engineering To find out more about Apprenticeships please call our Work-based Learning team on 01752 251866.
Plymouth’s aim in setting up a University Technical College (UTC) has moved closer with a visit from Lord Baker in July to look at four proposed sites for this new initiative. The College, in partnership with Plymouth University and Plymouth City Council, has submitted a funding bid to set up a £3 million technical college to teach marine engineering and manufacturing to teenagers. A number of sites have been scouted around Devonport for a UTC with the site of the former Parkside School, the current favourite. The government's ‘new concept in education’ is designed to offer 14-19 year olds technically-oriented courses. Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said they would be ideal for ‘those turned off by purely academic study’. UTCs will be equipped to ‘industrial standards’ and sponsored by businesses, offering teens routes into higher education or higher-level Apprenticeships with an employer and ‘improved chances of employment’. The UTC would serve a catchment area including the city, South East Cornwall and parts of Devon including Ivybridge and Tavistock. UTC-Plymouth would offer specialist subjects including science, technology, engineering and maths in fields such as marine engineering and advanced manufacturing, with a focus on enterprise and innovation. Council leader, Cllr Vivien Pengelly, said: "This development will help us nurture home-grown talent that will foster growth and regeneration in the city." A decision is expected soon and, if successful, a business case will be created with capital funding awarded to create the UTC by September 2014.
Employer Survey The College’s Employer Engagement team is celebrating the results of a recent employer survey which rated the College’s ability to meet business objectives at 95% and also showed that 93% of its customers would recommend the College to another employer. The survey revealed a range of positive responses, including the following from Justin Lees, Mechanical Associate with Hulley
& Kirkwood Consulting Engineers: “The College teaching staff are really enthusiastic and motivational and the training they delivered was of real benefit to our business”. Alison Lewis, Director of Employer Engagement at the College, said: “The survey has produced some great feedback for us - it is good to know that our clients are pleased with the service we are providing and that they are willing to endorse us so comprehensively. However, we will carry on assessing our performance in order to ensure that we continue to deliver the very best customer service standards to our clients.”
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Employer Seminars Continuing our focus on building strong, positive relationships with the business community, we are delighted to be hosting a number of employer seminars over the coming months. Each seminar will focus on a particular area of business and will feature industry experts.
Dealing Effectively with Customer Complaints Wednesday 26 October, 6.00pm - 9.00pm How do you handle customer complaints? Do you know how to turn a complaint into a compliment? This seminar looks at complaint handling and how to effectively manage complaints using a variety of tools and techniques. The seminar is a must for anyone working in a customer service role, dealing with customers either face-to-face or via telephone or e-mail.
Maximising Sales Leads Thursday 19 January, 6.00pm - 9.00pm
PR on a Shoe String Seminar This latest employer seminar saw delegates being thrown in at the deep end when they had to come up with an innovative and eye catching press release for a new ice cream! Alex Smale, Business Development Manager at Dartmoor Zoo, said: “I found out about the event via LinkedIn and I am glad that I attended; it was really informative and entertaining and I won the competition - fabulous!” To find out more about future employer events please visit www.cityplym.ac.uk/employers or call Sharron Robbie on 01752 305896.
Employer Dinners ... a great way to network Would you like to enjoy a fabulous four-course dinner? Want to hear from an interesting and informative after-dinner speaker? Do you want to mix with industry leaders and business owners to improve your business network? Our employer dinners offer all this and MORE!
Do you turn every lead you get into a sale? How are you ensuring that you maximise every opportunity? If you are a small business owner, or working in a sales environment this seminar is for you. Guest speaker, Tom Wyness, Training Director with Competitive Edge, will guide delegates through the processes needed to achieve real results and will share his tips and tools in order to help you maximise potential sales.
Tickets for the seminars, which will take place in our Cité Restaurant at Kings Road, cost just £15.00 (inclusive of a buffet). Places are limited so call 01752 305896 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book today!
Dates for your diaries ... Enterprise Week Dinner
Apprenticeship Week Dinner
Thursday 17 November 7.00pm - 10.00pm
Monday 6 February 7.00pm - 10.00pm
Cité Restaurant, Kings Road, Devonport
Cité Restaurant, Kings Road, Devonport
Join us in celebrating Plymouth Sustainable Enterprise Week, just one of the events being held across the city during this international initiative.
A fantastic evening where we focus on the success of the National Apprenticeship Scheme and the benefits apprentices bring to business.
Tickets cost just £25.00 per person and can be purchased by calling Sharron Robbie on 01752 305896 or by e-mail email@example.com.
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theworkspace Enabling Employability
The College’s brand new employability centre is now open and aims to support students in gaining vital employability skills to enhance their formal qualifications. We have great working relationships with a wide range of employers and organisations but are always keen to hear from others who might like to join our community. If you or your organisation would like to get involved in helping us improve the employability skills of students please contact Sharron Robbie, Corporate Relations Manager on 01752 305896, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
College Gains International Charter
The Plymouth Beer Company Millfield Trust
City College Plymouth is celebrating after receiving the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) new Charter for Excellence for its work with international students, and is the first College in the South West to receive such recognition.
An exciting project has been fermenting away at City College Plymouth over the summer months ...
The AoC International Charter (AoCIC) is a charter mark for those Colleges which have made a commitment to quality assuring and taking an ethical approach to all areas of their international activity and to making the global agenda an ‘agenda for all’ - staff, students and the local communities served by the College. Martin Doel, Chief Executive at the AoC, said: “Congratulations are due to City College Plymouth for their work with international students. Their work demonstrates a depth of commitment by the executive and governing body to international activities, the application of a rigorous quality assurance process and support for staff working with international students through relevant professional development. The College also works with the local community and exhibits a high degree of integrity in student recruitment and their approach to partnership work.”
The College’s micro-brewery, sited within the hospitality building at Kings Road, has been given a new lease of life by four passionate beer makers, Mike Salmon, Jim Reilly, Aidan Hall and Roger Pipe. The Plymouth Beer Company is being run as a not-for-profit company. Profits from sales of the beer are being used to support young people located in the Stonehouse area of the city. The company is keen to meet other beer enthusiasts and Roger Pipe would be thrilled to hear from anyone wanting to get involved. Roger can be contacted on 01752 660837.
Mailing List If you have received a copy of this newsletter from a colleague and would like to be added to our mailing list, or you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please telephone 01752 305896 or e-mail your name, job title, company name and full address to email@example.com.
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