College involved in UK Gatsby Foundation study on work-based learning

Published: February 26, 2021

Telford College is one of a small number of further education colleges in the UK chosen to take part in a new Gatsby Foundation study exploring best practice for the delivery of apprenticeships.

The study is being funded by The Gatsby Foundation, set up by David Sainsbury, to realise his charitable objectives across a range of sectors including education, science and the arts.

For the next two months, Telford College and up to 25 of its business partners will be interviewed about the scope for improving the quality of the on-the-job experiences of apprentices.

The findings will inform future work by the foundation to support employers deliver the highest quality apprenticeships.

Foundation spokesman Daniel Sanford-Smith said: “Apprenticeships are a three-way partnership between the employer, the apprentice and the college. Each plays a vital role in this pathway to skilled employment.

GKN, the manufacturing company with a base in Telford, is one of the college’s key employer partners involved in the project

GKN, the manufacturing company with a base in Telford, is one of the college’s key employer partners involved in the project

“An apprenticeship is an introduction to an occupation which is subtly different to a job with training; and should provide a route to a productive career.

“Telford College is committed to ensuring every aspect is delivered well, so we are keen to hear about the apprentice experience from the perspective of the college and some of its key employer partners.”

The study will consider how employers working with Telford College develop their training programmes, deliver on-the-job training, and track progress.

He said: “The best programmes are carefully structured to give an appreciation of the wider industrial context and environment that the apprentice will be entering and progressing within.

“This comprehensive learning experience requires skilful delivery by both the external training provider and the employer.”

Graham Guest, principal and chief executive of Telford College, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been given the chance to contribute to this valuable study into work-based learning.

“A successful apprenticeship requires a partnership approach to ensure the apprentice receives a combination of meaningful experience, in-work learning and college-based training.

“Over the next couple of months, a select number of employers who already partner with us will be invited to add their suggestions of best practice in developing apprentices.”

He added: “As a former apprentice myself, I’m very aware of the fact that the acquisition of new skills, knowledge and behaviour requires much more than meaningful work experience.”

Telford College currently offers 32 different apprenticeships, and has partnerships with around 700 employers on both a local, regional and national stage.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown, the college has engaged with more than 80 new local companies, and placed close to 300 new apprentices since August.