Learning that learns: the Skills Academy college network

,  28 April 2015

At our Annual Conference, James Jefferson asked what training will look like for the creative industries in the next ten years. For the first time, we brought together our UK network of tutors to explore this question in relation to Further Education delivery.

The Creative Training and Delivery Event, hosted by Birmingham Metropolitan College, aimed to bring three strands of Creative & Cultural Skills' work together:

  • Networking
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Experimentation.

​The day saw a call to action by James Jefferson, Creative & Cultural Skills board member and creative director of Equator:

“As a creative sector we are at a junction of training where the learner exists online and has access to technology outside of a classroom, as well as being able to learn on the job. 

"Now is the time for us to develop programmes that pivot with changes in skills needs, that are based on mentoring talent rather than teaching for a still-to-be-identified workforce.” 

Creating networking opportunities

Now is the time for us to develop programmes that pivot with changes in skills needs.

The day was geared around the needs of the tutors: those on the ground working with students and employers. They made it clear that they are keen on having an arena for meeting other colleges and seeing complementary facilities.

The event was one of many opportunities for new partnerships to be made. It saw a renewal of the collaborative education network that was started in 2008, when the Skills Academy was created.

Sharing knowledge

As was identified in the Building a Creative Nation: The Next Decade research report, the rise in self-employment is an opportunity for our workforce to be flexible to growth.

There is a need for further support for colleges so that students are better informed of their options once they have left education. Wendy Mason from AA2A led a session on what this training could look like.

The afternoon saw Chris Gray, from Leicester-based Seed Creativity, reflecting on the use of live briefs to authenticate a curriculum.

Experimenting with different methods

As part of a number of ‘tutor hacks’ during the day, we looked at how we work with Awarding Bodies, and how to authenticate the need for greater work experience within the study programme. 

Our aim is to allow students to gain work experience that links them to future employers.

This year will be about testing new Skills Academy models to transition students into the workplace. Our aim is to allow students to gain work experience that links them to future employers, as well as allowing greater access to the future-facing skills that the creative sector needs.

As introduced by entrepreneur and theatre producer Michael Jacobsen in his keynote, how we allow enterprise to be gained outside of college learning companies is a growing challenge. This is something that many tutors were able to tackle through sharing their colleges' models of looking outside of creative sector placements.

The Creative Training and Delivery Event took place at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Matthew Boulton Campus, and will be an annual event for the Skills Academy network of tutors to come together to share and collaborate.

Find out more about the Skills Academy and see the National Skills Academy Programme 2015-16.

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