Diversification and strong links with industry are key to City College Plymouth being the training provider of choice, whereby staff at all levels will be required to establish strong links with local, regional and national employers, along with civic, educational and community partners.
All will expect the same level of quality, engagement and service with a single point of contact to aid the development of new programmes and ensure that those who oversee the training aspects of their business understand what is on offer and where to go for support if required.
The College has developed eight strategic ten year plans which provide focus but also allow for opportunities to be considered and acted upon if proving beneficial.
Two of these plans have a strategic focus on skills, which are based on LMI and support the Skills 4 Plymouth local authority plan and latest updates from LSIP events. These include, maritime, defence, manufacturing, construction and the built environment, medical, health and life sciences, tourism and leisure, and digital, with all having a link to national agendas such as green and blue skills.
The College’s engagement across the Plymouth travel- to-learn area and beyond (given the technological advancements of learning), allows interaction across a diverse range of stakeholders, which include tier one companies such as Babcock International, Princess Yachts, Kier Construction, and the NHS, along with many smaller organisations, such as YGS Landscapes through to strategic organisations such as the University of Plymouth, the Local Authority, Devon and Plymouth Chamber, Shekinah and many other community organisations. Engagement with our community is through various mediums including:
• events and networking
• membership of strategic organisations
• sector partner meetings
• key account management/key partnership meetings
The reach across sectors and amongst varying sizes of organisation is essential to providing the breadth of provision; this is particularly prevalent with the majority of companies being within the SME range both within the city and wider south west region.
To allow the College to focus on each sector, relevant sector partner meetings take place and, where possible, include industry bodies so that we do not compete in a crowded market and also collaborate wherever possible. These direct links allow us to understand employer needs for all sizes of organisation, obtain rich intel for curriculum creation/ delivery, as well as direction from the industry bodies with links through to local, regional and national requirements.
This has proved successful and encourages greater partnership working for example through the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group, Building Plymouth, the Maritime and Defence Skills Partnership and the Confederation of British Industry of which the College are members.
By using these meetings, curriculum and the skills required to meet future demand can be moulded to the needs of all of our partners, through carefully orchestrated meetings, workshops and the gathering of local market intelligence. Events and networking are held (both internally and externally) and attended on a regular basis. Internal events are generally hosted by the strategic lead for the sectors involved or by their relevant Curriculum Lead & Development Officer (CLDO).
The College has also appointed an Executive Skills Lead who works across the College to bring together information and data, which informs curriculum and skills plans and the future investments into our innovative teaching spaces and workshops. For example, the College has recently invested over £350k into its innovative Augmented Welding Suite, which is used to train and upskill the welding workforce across the city and beyond.
This engagement has proved to be successful, as not only are our partners able to discuss their sector and needs with staff directly, the events also allow the College to showcase current and future training; this provides excellent feedback opportunities when courses are being developed in line with local needs and allows for changes to be made that are relevant to the sector.