FROM VIRTUAL WORK EXPERIENCE TO BRINGING
MORE EMPLOYERS INTO THE CLASSROOM – WALSALL COLLEGE TAKES TALENT DEVELOPMENT TO NEXT LEVEL
Virtual work experience weeks led to 90 employers and 160 industry representatives engaging with nearly 2,000 Walsall College students during the lockdown.
The college is building on this achievement by launching Employer in Every Classroom; a talent development initiative designed to help local businesses address skills shortages and recruitment challenges.
Employer in Every Classroom is aligned to the government’s Building Back Better agenda. This sees employers contributing to new ‘Local Skills Improvement Plans’ that put their business and skills priorities at the heart of the training carried out by further education colleges.
James Norris, Assistant Principal for Commercial Development at the college told Prosper, “Employers deserve a more prominent role in shaping and delivering our curriculum, resulting in improved prospects for our student graduates and the growth of our local industries.”
Employers interested in, or already working with Walsall College can share their time, expertise and wider resources, with a view to achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards demonstrating their ability to give back to their community. Activities include work placements and industry/career-led talks, as well as company-set projects, mentoring and equipment sponsorship.
James continued, “Our recent virtual work experience weeks saw students completing over 400 hours of ‘real world of work’ activities. 92% of students involved believed these helped them to develop skills that employers’ value. Feedback from the organisations and people supporting us was equally positive. All are willing to work with the college on similar or other projects in future.
“This shows the impact that employers can have from the very start of our students’ career journeys. We encourage others to step up now and stand out; so that together we are well-placed to build back better post-pandemic.”
For further information about how to get involved in Employer in every Classroom visit
walsallcollege.ac.uk/employers or call 01922 657000.
SIPS CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOINS SANDWELL BUSINESS AMBASSADORS
Brian Cape, Chief Executive at SIPS Education, has become the latest prominent business leader from the borough to join Sandwell Business Ambassadors, an independent group that supports and represents Sandwell businesses.
SIPS is a not-for-profit school's services co-operative for Sandwell, the Black Country and the West Midlands which provides a broad range of services to schools including IT, finance, risk management, HR, improvement services, music, catering and governance.
Brian said, “I have a passion for people, places and communities, and hope to support Sandwell in being loud, prosperous and proud.
“I moved to Oldbury from Sunderland in 2009 and was overwhelmed by such a warm welcome to a ‘stranger’. The people were amazing, and the place got under my skin. All these years later, I’m back in Sandwell and delighted to be able to give something back to our community.
“I’m a ‘localism’ advocate, especially keen to promote and support economic growth through the use of local businesses, local people – and above all local spending and procurement on goods, skills and employment.”
Sandwell Council launched the Sandwell Business Ambassadors programme in 2016 to combine the strengths (skills, experience and networks) of prominent businesspeople in the borough. Its purpose is to support and represent Sandwell businesses, liaising with the council and main contractors on issues that matter to the borough’s business community.