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A College to be proud of ...

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Keeping staff in the know



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Keeping staff in the know | A College to be proud of | Keeping staff in the know




Catherine Sims

In this issue of Pulse


Welcome to the spring edition of your staff magazine, Pulse. In this issue read about Grow Allot - the College’s allotment project, the new multi-function print devices which were installed during the Easter holidays, an enlightening trip to Denmark, and lots more! Some of you may remember the internal communications survey that we conducted in December. Over 350 of you responded, so we got a really good feel for what you, as City College Plymouth staff, think about how information is shared around the College. The weekly staff bulletin remains a clear leader in terms of effective internal communication to College staff, and this will remain unchanged - with a few minor tweaks in terms of layout and appearance. It is clear that many staff find it difficult to find the time to read the many internal communication documents currently on offer, and we will be looking at more discrete, succinct and accessible ways to communicate information to you, so watch this space. As always, if you do have any comments, suggestions or success stories you’d like to share, then please e-mail me at Catherine Sims Editor

Human Resources Information System


Secure, More Accessible Printing for Staff


News from the Nursery


Sustainability Updates


Allotment Project - Grow Allot


Teaching and Learning


Enterprising Trip to Boston


College Partnerships - TNG Meeting in Denmark


New Chair and Vice Chair for Corporation


24+ Advanced Learning Loans


Raising the Participation Age


Studio School

Back Issues Previous issues of Pulse can be downloaded at http://staff2/.

back cover


Human Resources Information System Human Resources Office and Systems Manager, Vicky Fitzpatrick gives us an update. In the spring 2012 issue of ‘Pulse’ we told you about the new HR Information System, and the exciting developments around e-recruitment and self-service. I hope that you have found the time to look at the self-service system and have found it useful. The HR team has provided training to the majority of College staff, but if you have been unable to attend self-service training, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to deliver training on a one-to-one basis, to a small group, or to a whole department.

E-recruitment E-recruitment has now been in place for over a year, and we have received over 1,200 individual applications through the new system - a 25% increase on the same period last year. Staff are now also able to apply for internal only vacancies through the system, without having to repeat the information already held on their record. E-apprasials The next development from the system is e-appraisals, and the HR team have been providing training on the new system. This system has replaced the old paperbased system, which has been in place since 2007. It was felt that it was time to review the appraisal system in line with current College priorities opportunity, enterprise and employability. The process is now entirely on-line, in keeping with the College’s mission to streamline and simplify processes and reduce paper usage.

The new system aims to make the process more efficient, and to be less prescriptive. The appraisal will be a live document available through the employee self-service system. This means that individuals will be able to access their appraisal throughout the year to constantly review targets and actions. Similarly, managers will be able to access their employees’ previous appraisals at the click of a button, instead of having to locate a paper copy. Targets, although still linked to the College priorities, should be much more individual to ensure that everyone understands the part they play in organisational success. We have removed the need for any information that is a duplicate, for example any training undertaken, as this is now recorded online and can be accessed through employee self-service. This academic year will bring further changes and updates to the system, and the HR team will provide further training as the system develops. If you have any feedback on the system, or any questions, please contact the HR team on extension 5322. In addition, if you have any suggestions on anything you would like to see on the system, please contact me at vfitzpatrick@



Secure, More Accessible Printing for Staff Head of Learning and Library Resources, Paul Scarsbrook, tells us everything we need to know.

The College’s new installation of Multi-Functional Devices (MFD) means that you can now scan to e-mail, photocopy and print to any device around the College! This new printing policy brings a whole host of benefits to staff and you will notice …

Enhanced document security As users are required to be at a device for their print job(s) to be processed, our new printing system can practically remove the problem of lost printed documents. Also, there’s far less risk of your confidential or especially important documents being seen by unauthorised individuals, or being accidentally carried away with another person’s printing. Improved accessibility Many of the 64 new devices are in purpose-designed, open rooms or open areas which are available during the hours the College is open, ie beyond library opening hours, so you can collect printing when and where you choose. Lists of all accessible devices are available by each one, so you can readily see where to go if you need colour or A3 - all devices will produce A4 mono copies and prints and will scan (all will scan in colour). A more streamlined printing environment Your printing environment becomes much more flexible. If a printing device is processing other jobs,


you can simply move on to an alternative device. Any documents which are not printed overnight are auto-deleted from the print queue. This removes any unwanted print jobs from the system.

What you need to know: • every member of staff will be issued with a ‘stick on chip’ via their administrator. The chip should be attached to the rear of your College ID card • using the instructions you will receive with your chip, you need to authenticate it • once you have authenticated your chip you can use it on any other MFD, as a proximity card, just by touching the card reader with it, without having to manually log-in each time • printing can be retrieved from any of the MFDs irrespective of the location of your computer. Check on the list on the mini-site (see below) for locations where you can collect colour or A3 prints since not all MFDs will do this • point-of-use posters will tell you what you need to do in the event of a problem with the device. Help and support is available online, on a new miniwebsite: and from the libraries.


News from the Nursery Nursery Manager, Julie Griffiths, keeps us updated.

Out and about This year we are taking the nursery children out and about, they appeared in the The Herald (16 February 2013) enjoying a day with ‘Dennis Dart’ - Plymouth Citybus’ play bus - that visits local settings and schools, so that children can learn about and experience bus travel first-hand. Dennis visited both the Kings Road and Goschen nurseries, and the children were taken for a little local drive, which they loved. We have recently arranged with Citybus that some of our youngest students, those aged three to five years, are able to use the College shuttle bus with the rest of the City College Plymouth community. They will even have their own nursery issued bus passes! We are very excited about this, and the opportunities it will open up for our pre-school children. It fits with our nursery Sustainability Policy, and with the ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ manifesto that states that children should be able to access ‘the world beyond the classroom’ as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances (DfES 2006). Children from both nurseries will be able to get involved with gardening at the College’s new allotments and attend functions and events at both sites.

Learning outside In further support of the Learning Outside the Classroom manifesto is our current initiative to develop the conservation area adjacent to the Kings Road nursery, so that we can offer Forest School provision for the nurseries, College, and wider community. Forest

School originated in Scandinavia in the 1950s, was brought to the UK by Bridgwater College in the 1990s, and is becoming increasingly popular. It takes learning out of the traditional classroom and into the woods, and has far reaching benefits that have been well documented by extensive research, including supporting confidence, independence, improved self-esteem and communication skills. Forest School encourages participants to engage with the natural world in a positive way, as sessions combine woodland and nature focused activities, encouraging children and young adults to become ‘guardians of the future’. Team building games, in which successes are celebrated, and learning through play in a ‘safe enough’ risk taking environment enable participants to use their initiative and problem-solving skills and enjoy deep level learning in a meaningful way. Sessions are led by qualified Forest School Leaders and take place over a series of sessions with activities such as den building, environmental art, building, cooking on campfires, and simple bush craft. There is a team involved in taking this forward, and we are hoping to run our first sessions this year. Forest School is accessible to people of all ages and abilities and will work well with the College’s allotment project, and contribute to an ecological green ‘stepping stone’ to form part of the citywide network of wildlife sites and corridors in Plymouth. Please contact the nursery for more information.



Sustainability Updates The College’s Sustainability Officer, Laura Wellington, tells us what’s happening ...

Fairtrade success Hospitality management and event planning students supported this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight with enthusiasm, as they organised and hosted the College’s third Fairtrade Festival with passionate flare. The event had great support from Plymouth City Council and local retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Lush, Riverford, Fairport (Plymouth) Ltd, Naturally Ethically Trading, Essential Trading and food distributors, Peros. Other stall holders included Traidcraft, Shared Interest and the Global Centre, with donations from the following companies: Koolskools, Scheckter and Liberation. Students from dBs Music also provided an energetic atmosphere and entertained the crowds with their DJ sets. The College had the pleasure of welcoming Oscar Ponce Salazar, a Fairtrade and Organic Coffee Producer from the Pangoa Co-operative in Peru. Oscar attended the festival with Susan Kay from the Global Centre and translator, Libertad Polanco. He presented an informative talk to the Sustainability Working Group and Access to Environmental Science students at Goschen. Oscar highlighted the importance of supporting Fairtrade, not only to tackle poverty and empower producers in developing countries but to support sustainability as well.


City College Plymouth is a ‘Fairtrade College’, which means that we have made a commitment to the Fairtrade Foundation ( to support this worthwhile campaign. The College’s Fairtrade Policy can be downloaded from the staff intranet site and if you are keen to get involved we are always looking for new members to join the Fairtrade Focus Group!

It’s not a load of rubbish! In 2011/12 the College sent 205 tonnes of waste to landfill costing £37,000, compared to recycling 210 tonnes of material costing £7,500. In line with the government’s ‘Landfill Directive’, the tax we pay on any waste that goes to landfill will increase from £64 to £72 per tonne (with effect from April 2013), so the challenge is on to recycle even more! With the increase in waste sent to landfill in 2011/12 being accounted to the refurbishment of the construction building and the closure of Camel’s Head, positive steps have been taken with the engineering refurbishment to recycle as much as possible and sell or donate unwanted equipment.


Yearly comparison of waste sent to landfill vs recycled

The Waste Hierarchy

Preferred environmental option When you have finished with this newsletter please recycle it.

A waste audit carried out in May 2012 revealed that an estimated 75-85% of the rubbish we throw away could actually be recycled! Out of the 20 general waste bags examined, five bags were attributed to paper/cardboard, with two classified to office paper which has remained the same since waste was audited in 2009. However, the overall amount of paper recycled has actually reduced, hopefully meaning that people are thinking before they print and opting to print double-sided. Costa cup recycling bins will soon be in place to further reduce this waste type from ending up in landfill. Depending on the waste market, the College has received up to £45 per tonne for the paper/cardboard we recycle, so recycling is worth it. The 2011/12 annual waste report highlights some great progress in terms of the College’s position with waste management and clearly highlights staff and students’ efforts to utilise resources more efficiently, and recycle more. Evidence that the ‘Waste Hierarchy’ is being put into practice can be seen in both the brick and wood trade departments where overall amount of waste has been ‘reduced’ significantly.

Avoid Reduce Reuse Recycle Recover - incineration Dispose - landfill

Least favoured option

So, next time you go to throw something away in the general waste bin, stop and think if it can be recycled. If you have any suggestions on how to improve waste management at our College, please e-mail me at



Allotment project Grow Allot

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We are also working with The Conservation Foundation’s ‘Tool Shed Project’. As part of the project, broken garden tools and equipment are sent to local prisons where they are repaired and restored by inmates. Before Christmas, the College sent a bundle

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We have welcomed two local residents to join the ‘Grow Allot’ project and become tenants of plots one and two. In addition, we have formed an enthusiastic staff group, who will transform plots three and four into a vibrant shared garden. Plots five and six will give students from all areas of the College a chance to learn about organic growing and an opportunity to taste fresh, local seasonal vegetables. Plot seven will be designed and developed by the students at Work-based Learning and School Partnerships, who will cultivate the site using creative and sustainable gardening techniques.

of broken tools to HM Prison Dartmoor. A big thank you to the Foundation who recently visited the College and gifted the project a collection of restored gardening tools. For further information on the ‘Grow Allot’ project, please contact Matt White, Local Food Allotment Coordinator ( or call extension 5722).


In the last six months, an area behind the student car park has been transformed from an overgrown, disused space into a community allotment. The ‘Grow Allot’ site is now complete and will provide an excellent growing opportunity for the College and the local community. Students from Construction have completed building the brick raised beds, which will form the allotment’s wheelchair-access plots.

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Keith Ebdon Higher Education Programme Leader for Forensic Science

Teaching and Learning

Our College offers many vocational courses in specific areas of study and practice. Due to chronic employment prospects in certain vocational areas, should these courses be delivered by our College? Higher Education Programme Leader for Forensic Science, Keith Ebdon tells us more.

Forensic Science covers many complementary subjects such as chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology and legal studies, so the students are exposed to a diverse learning experience. Students are learning not only science, but transferable skills such as problem solving, team working, time management, analytical and communication skills, all of which can be taken to the workplace. This substantially increases the range of employment that students can apply for. Our forensic students have found employment in the Prison Service, Police, medical services and non-forensic science laboratories.

I lead the Foundation Degree in Forensic Science, and employment in crime scene investigation and forensic science is very limited, particularly in the South West. As with many of our vocational courses the modular delivery covers a wide range of subjects other than just the main vocational subject. The Foundation Degree in

Forensic science is an interesting and exciting way to learn science, complementary subjects and transferable skills that can aid employability. So, I believe our College needs to continue to offer vocational courses with complementary subjects and transferable skills to increase our students’ chances of getting a job!

Transferable skills and employability



Enterprising trip to Boston In January, two members from the Senior Leadership Team - Nina Sarlaka and Josephine John - visited Babson College in Boston USA, as part of the Gazelle Enterprising Colleges programme. As a globally recognised leader in entrepreneurship education, Babson College seeks to raise the quality, content and process of teaching entrepreneurship through their Symposia for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE) programme. During an intensive four-day period, Nina and Jo explored the entrepreneurial process and the ‘art and craft’ of teaching and learning entrepreneurship. The SEE programme has a 29 year history with over 3,000 delegates (and now alumni) from 500 plus institutions, representing 60 countries. The mission of the programme is to: • improve the art and craft of teaching entrepreneurship. Process and content must coexist for optimal impact • share and shape cutting edge pedagogical

Babson College in Boston USA


approaches • create intellectual and practical collisions between academics and the world of entrepreneurial practice • develop great entrepreneurship educators that improve the world. The learning objectives were to: • integrate the complementary logics underlying Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ETA) • experience a variety of pedagogies that can help students practice entrepreneurship • co-create innovative ways for teaching entrepreneurship in a new world • reflect on personal teaching philosophies and styles in order to better develop a pedagogy portfolio to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs • build a personal resource base by networking with a global cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs and educators who are dedicated to innovation in entrepreneurship education.


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Nina and Jo learnt about the Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action Model, which requires two ways of thinking … Prediction (analytic) • Inductive and deductive logic. • Mathematical tools and other analytic methods. • Rules of thumb. • Core logic of virtually all educational settings. • Core logic of large organisations. • Works superbly to the extent that the future can be divined or extrapolated from the past.

Creaction • Favoured by serial entrepreneurs 89% of the time. • Favours what is real and confirmable over projections and assumptions. • Smart action trumps analysis. • Suitable when the future cannot be predicted from the past. • In extreme uncertainty or unknowablity is the only logical choice.

ENTREPRENEURIAL THOUGHT AND ACTION The visit involved lots of teacher training activity and included a move away from formal business plans to a very strong ‘action trumps everything’ mantra. Full packed days were filled with useful tools for entrepreneurship including: • Entrepreneur 3D • IdeaLab

The visit also included interactive sessions, group activities and exercises which enhanced the knowledge of all participants and allowed for constructive exchange of opinions and ideas. There were great networking opportunities within the Gazelle Colleges and with numerous international colleges who were represented.

• Management versus entrepreneurship • The Business Model Canvas.

Both Nina and Jo are happy to provide colleagues with any additional information or detail, please do not hesitate to contact either of them as appropriate.



College Partnerships - TNG Meeting in Denmark Sharon Hopkins, Employer Provision Manager for Business and Hospitality, tells us about her recent trip to Denmark. During the last week of February, I had the fantastic opportunity of visiting Denmark through the Partnerships European TNG project (funded under the Leonardo Da Vinci, Lifelong Learning Programme), with three colleagues from the Work-Based Learning department. The purpose of the visit was to meet with other like-minded members of the project from Denmark, Holland, Germany, Portugal and Belgium. The agenda was to identify specific problems around Apprenticeships from both the student and the employer perspective. The meetings took place at EUC Syd, which is a modern Danish training institute for vocational training and continuing education (FE) and is classed as one of the leading technical colleges in Denmark. On day one we were given a tour of the campus, which was well equipped with modern classrooms, workshops, IT and library facilities. EUC has spent an enviable 15million DK on refurbishment in the last four years.


We then heard from a workplace consultant and study counsellor about their perspective on the structure of the Danish education system. There were a number of interesting facts and surprises: • Danish children do not enter the education system until the age of six • around the age of nine, students are introduced to a study counsellor, who they will have access to for the remaining time they spend in education and training. It is at this age that students are encouraged to start exploring career options • the study counsellor is independent of the colleges and training providers, and gives impartial advice and support - more recently this service has been developed to offer e-counselling • the college system offers 20-week internships where students have the opportunity to explore different employment opportunities and spending time on work placements, before making a decision about their career path • there are no entry requirements for an Apprenticeship - it would seem that literacy and numeracy is expected to be delivered effectively within the school system! • all employers pay into a fund - this fund is then used to pay employers when their apprentice attends day release at college, providing the employer with compensation for losing a member of their workforce


• colleges work closely with employers - it is not a choice but an expectation on both parts • everyone is entitled to re-training, so if a person wishes to change their career they can do so at any time and it is completely funded • education is free in Denmark at all levels including higher education • a young person leaving school must go into education, training, an Apprenticeship or employment - it is not an option to leave school and do nothing! • unemployment in Denmark is around 4.7%. On our second day we heard from a chef at a local hotel, who discussed catering Apprenticeships and the relationship between the business and the college. He talked about Noma, a very famous Michelin starred restaurant that has been rated the best in the world for three consecutive years, and the move towards expectations that all chefs cook at this level! Somewhat reassuringly, many of the issues around Apprenticeships are universal - student motivation, appearance, respect, unrealistic ambitions, including the desire to become a ‘celebrity’ chef, the stress levels of the kitchen and the ability of students to adapt to the unique kitchen environment. In the afternoon there were presentations from all parties, followed by an ‘open space’ discussion of the topics presented. Again, many of the problems were universal.

Employers: • • • •

wage bill - unable to afford an apprentice apprentices with low skills/competence levels apprentices with a lack of responsibility apprentices who are not work ready.

Students: • low wages • lack of support from employers regarding their training • issues around day release - employers reluctant to release them • getting up in the morning! Gladly, the trip was not all work, we were lucky to attend a museum - Dybbol Banke - which is the historical site where the battle between Denmark and Prussia took place in 1864. We also had the opportunity to socialise and network with our European partners and many friendships were formed. The final meeting for the TNG project takes place in June, in Plymouth, and the European partners are very much looking forward to visiting City College Plymouth.

Here are a few comments from my colleagues … David Shurmer, Training Officer, Work-Based Learning Department “The visit to Denmark’s EUC Syd campus in Sonderborg was a fantastic experience, which served to develop both international networking and best practices. A particular highlight for me was the national policy of the Danish government, who offer a consistent ‘career/training advice and guidance’ service from primary school age, for all students. This policy reaped clear rewards and is something which I believe would benefit young people in the UK, should it be adopted. An additional highlight came in the form of the positive impact which the campus had upon learning. “The learning environment was professional, calm, clean and modern - all of which benefited the learning experience. I firmly believe that this opportunity served to develop my own practice, via the seminars delivered, with many of the speakers working in the same educational sector as myself. I now hope I can further build on this unique and highly beneficial experience by undertaking similar opportunities as they arise in the future.” April Howell, Training Officer, Work-Based Learning Department “I have recently been on the Leonardo excursion to Denmark to try and experience some of their culture, education and build relations internationally. This trip was fun, interesting, exciting and gave me some great ideas for how we can look at what they have done and possibly use parts for our own benefit! We shared best practice and discussed the varied ways we do education and the difficulties we sometimes experience. “I found it helpful discussing possible solutions to our issues and hearing people’s points of view. In particular, I found interesting their use in Denmark of mentoring and advisory services, which start at a very young age and continue until the student has left compulsory education. This seems to have a significant effect on how they progress and the dropout rate is very small along with the unemployment rate. The whole trip gave me food for thought and the company was excellent!”



New Chair and Vice Chair for Corporation Local businessman and Plymouthian, Nick Holman the Head of Professional Services for Vickery Holman Property Consultants, has been elected as the new Chair of the College’s Corporation. He is joined by a new Vice Chair, William Woyka, the Chief Executive of Routeways. The Corporation is responsible for the overall operation of the College. It is accountable for the quality of our service to you and your welfare, the financial health of the College and ensuring that we use public money appropriately. The Corporation consists of 12 general governors who come from a range of backgrounds, including the public, business and community sectors, and four College student and staff governors.

24+ Advanced Learning Loans

This April the government launched the new 24+ Advanced Learning Loans scheme. The new scheme is for those over the age of 24 to help pay the fees for level 3 and 4 courses, from September 2013. The new loans are not dependent on household income and they are not credit checked. Significantly, the recipient of the loan does not have to pay anything back until they are earning over £21,000 a year.


Nick Holman

William Woyka

For those considering Higher Education (HE) there is a further incentive, if the 24+ loan is used to pay for an Access to HE course and the student goes on to complete an HE course, having taken out a HE student loan, the 24+ loan will be written off. Income each year Monthly salary repayment

Monthly before tax

Up to £21,000


















To find out more about the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans, the Student Services team is running workshops for both staff and students. Details of the staff workshops can be found on the Staff Development pages of the staff intranet - http://staff2/course/view.php?id=40, and for students the information can be found on the student intranet.


Raising the Participation Age

This year the government has raised the age of participation for young people to 17. This means that for those pupils currently in Year 11 there is now an expectation that they will continue their education or training until at least the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. In 2015 the expectation is that young people will continue their education or training until their 18th birthday. This does not mean staying in school! These young people have the choice of staying in full-time education in school, college or with a training provider, working full time or volunteering so long as this is combined with part-time education or training, or taking up an Apprenticeship. The drive for this change has come from the need to give all young people the best chance to develop the skills and acquire the qualifications they need for future employment, helping them make the most of their potential and earning moreover their lifetime. There is evidence to show that qualifications gained at this age (post Year 11) help to increase an individual’s earning

potential, and that they are less likely to suffer from health and social problems. For instance those with two or more A levels earn roughly 14% more than those without.* A key part of implementing this is the availability of impartial and independent careers guidance. At the College we are able to offer all the options available to young people, and to provide them with advice around all these options. The next College open event is scheduled for Wednesday 26 June - this event will enable us to showcase the different pathways available to young people, and to see if the College environment appeals to them. * References: Greenwood, C. Jenkins, A. and Vignoles, A (2007): The Returns to Qualifications in England: Updating the Evidence Base on Level 2 and Level 3 Vocational Qualifications; Institute of Education Feinstein, L. Budge, D. Vorhaus, J and Duckworth, K. (2008): The social and personal benefits and of learning: A summary of key research findings; Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning


Studio School

The College, together with the Akkeron Group, Plymouth Argyle and the University of St Mark & St John, has submitted a proposal to create a Studio School for Plymouth, focussing on leisure, tourism and sport - the visitor economy, a priority employment growth sector for Plymouth and the region. Studio Schools are a new concept in education for 14 to 19 year olds, pioneering a bold new approach to learning by teaching through enterprise projects and real work. They seek to address the growing gap between the skills and knowledge that young people require to succeed, and those that the current education system provides. This innovative approach ensures students’ learning is rooted in the real world, helping them to develop the skills they need to flourish at work and in life.


Studio Schools are small, tending to have no more than 300 students. They are open all year round with a nine to five day, more typical of the workplace than a school. Working closely with local employers, the Studio School will offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications, including GCSEs in English, maths and science, as well as work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. Students will also gain a broad range of employability and life skills. Following a meeting with the Department for Education, the College received some encouraging feedback, which will be worked into the final proposal to be submitted this autumn.

Pulse Spring Term 2013  

News, info, support