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Publication - Report

Developing the Young Workforce: annual report 2016-2017

Published: 9 Jan 2018
Directorate:
Advanced Learning and Science Directorate
Part of:
Education, Work and skills
ISBN:
9781788515344

The third annual report on Scotland's youth employment strategy, setting out progress in the academic year 2016 to 2017

52 page PDF

660.4 kB

52 page PDF

660.4 kB

Contents
Developing the Young Workforce: annual report 2016-2017
Chapter 2: Colleges

52 page PDF

660.4 kB

Chapter 2: Colleges

Progress in Colleges

  • 83.9% of leavers go onto positive destinations, further study or work.
  • 85% of Colleges have established employer/industry advisory boards to review and enhance curriculum quality, planning and outcomes.

College and University Gender Action Plans ( GAPs) published

(This activity delivers on Developing the Young Workforce Recommendations 4, 5, 6, 12, 17, 29, 34.)

Overview

Colleges and regional partnerships have built on progress made in AY 15-16 to increase their vocational offer to senior phase pupils across Scotland. The SFC in collaboration with partners is developing a school engagement framework which will combine the various strands of schools activity including advice, pathways and bridging programmes.

A key purpose of this work will be to tackle gender under-representation at subject level and overall male under-representation and having established its gender action plan, the SFC asked all universities and colleges to publish their institutional Gender Action Plans ( GAPs) in July 2017.

These plans will support the aims of the STEM strategy – addressing the need for greater diversity of people taking STEM courses, training programmes and achieving employment in the STEM sectors.

Significant progress has been achieved in re-shaping the college quality assurance process to better respond to the scale of regional colleges and provide assurances to stakeholders around quality enhancement. The new approach was rolled out in partnership with Education Scotland across the sector in 2016-17 and all colleges submitted their Evaluative Reports and Enhancement Plans in October 2017.

Through the intensification of Outcome Agreements the SFC is also supporting greater college employer engagement, through:

  • An employer engagement framework – to help assess effectiveness;
  • Mechanisms for employer involvement in the curriculum, reviewing , developing the curriculum offer and maximising the quality for the learner experience; and
  • Developing employment search facilities at all colleges.

Progress

Key themes and milestones for colleges

Achieving our ambitions for the young workforce requires a focus on:

  • Young people able to access more vocational options during the senior phase of secondary school, which deliver routes into good jobs and careers, developed through effective partnership between schools, colleges, local authorities and other partners;
  • Improving opportunities and experiences for all learners, with a focus on reducing gender imbalance on course take-up;
  • Provision aligned with economic needs and regional planning, with a focus on STEM where appropriate;
  • Supporting college leaders and staff to develop the skills required to meet the Commission's ambitions for the sector; and
  • Further developing college outcome agreements to underpin improvements and measure progress.

Overall, we see that College success rates for FE have dropped slightly from 74% to 71.4% between 2013-14 to 2015-16 but that the successful completion rate of HE provision in Colleges overall has increased from 73.1% to 73.9%. At the same time we see a very slight improvement in the proportion of college leavers aged 16 to 24 years progressing to a positive destination of higher study, training or work, up by one percentage point to 83.9%.

Importantly, employer views of college leavers’ preparedness for work, remains high, for example, the 2016 UK Employer Survey, highlighted that 80% of establishments who had recruited a Scottish FE college leaver found them prepared for work.

Outcome Agreements for AY 17-18 were published in summer 2017 and can be viewed at www.sfc.ac.uk/funding/outcome-agreements/outcome-agreements.aspx. These agreements include the DYW priorities and expansion of senior phase pathway numbers to over 7,000 by 2019-20.

Significant progress has also been achieved in re-shaping the quality assurance process to better respond to the scale of regional colleges and provide assurances to stakeholders around quality enhancement.

Skills Alignment

Work is underway to strengthen and develop an aligned skills planning system, led jointly by the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland.

To ensure we get the right college courses in the right regions, this work with both agencies has established an evidence base against which we can align and prioritise college provision as well as a governance mechanism and common monitoring and evaluation framework to judge effectiveness. Over the course of the next year we will establish a joint executive team led by a new single head of skills alignment to help better define, purpose and align skills to economic need and enable single decision making.

Employer Engagement

SFC uses the Outcome Agreement process to evidence the level and extent to which colleges engage with employers and industry groups. We note:

  • 85% of Colleges have established employer/ industry advisory boards to review and enhance curriculum quality, planning and outcomes;
  • Engagement with the advisory groups at curriculum level ensures that the curriculum addresses current needs as well as forecasted future skills demands and that provision is aligned with the employment priorities of local business; and
  • 92% of Colleges provided evidence of their engagement with local DYW Boards and the benefits of this engagement in providing structured vocational pathways that support young people into sustained and successful careers.

Colleges have prioritised establishing links with DYW Regional Groups to further develop and enhance employer engagement with colleges. In the past year, considerable progress has been made in understanding the extent of college engagement with employers, industry groups and DYW boards. However, we are doing further work to assess the impact this engagement has on both students’ experience and their employability. In 2017/18 Outcome Agreement Managers will intensify their engagement with Colleges to test the effectiveness of employer engagement.

In addition, SFC launched the Flexible Workforce Development Fund – to drive further and more impactful employer engagement and support regional economic growth.

Challenges

Under the planned intensification of the Outcome Agreement process, we expect regional partnerships of colleges and local authorities to accelerate their collaboration around regional curriculum planning. The intensification will also look for greater evidence of steps taken to improve retention – including for the school-college cohort and its impact in terms of outcomes.

Key challenges include:

  • Supporting regional partnerships to grow the volume of higher level vocational pathways;
  • Monitoring the impact of institutional Gender Action Plans including colleges’ plans to address regional subject level imbalances;
  • Implementing an Employer Engagement Framework;
  • Reviewing the implementation of the new college quality arrangements; and
  • Seeking evidence of further external engagement and involvement of stakeholders in the development of Outcome Agreements.

Next Steps

During 2017- 2018, we will see:

  • All colleges offering vocational options to the majority of secondary schools in their region;
  • College outcome agreements for academic year 2018-19 signed off, showing evidence of well-developed partnerships with secondary schools, local authorities and employers;
  • Publication of improved college quality and performance information; and
  • Supporting the work of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board, in particular the Skills Alignment work, led jointly by SFC and SDS.

During 2018 - 2019, we will see:

  • College outcome agreements for academic year 2019-20 signed off, showing evidence of well-developed partnerships with secondary schools, local authorities and employers; and
  • Vocational course options available across all schools.

During 2019 - 2020, we will see:

  • College outcome agreements for academic year 2020-21 reflect a regional curriculum, with vocational options widely available, informed by secondary schools, local authorities and employers.

During 2020 - 2021, we will see:

  • College outcome agreements for academic year 2020-21 reflect a regional curriculum, with vocational options widely available, informed by secondary schools, local authorities and employers.

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