Producing the next generation of career professionals

May 1, 2020

Further education colleges, such as Sunderland College, have a vital role to play in producing the next generation of career professionals who are industry-ready with the knowledge, skills and personal qualities that employers demand

Sunderland College – which is one of the city’s largest employers – embeds workplace learning in its programmes and provides students with simulated work environments, such as its health ward and digital academy, to ensure they develop a wide range of skills and competencies to become work ready. Furthermore, its vocational provision continues to be aligned to local, regional and national priorities.

Last year, the college – which has approximately 10,165 students at three campuses across Sunderland – was selected to pilot the new, high-quality T-Level qualifications to further build on its excellence in career-focused technical qualifications.

The college will offer T-Level courses in digital, education, construction and health sciences from September 2021.

Judith Quinn, interim deputy principal for curriculum at Sunderland College, says: “We are very much looking forward to playing a key role in transforming technical education across the country and supporting our students in gaining the essential skills and knowledge required by industry.”

The college also offers a responsive and innovative curriculum for adult learners in collaboration with external partners and local employers, which is designed to reflect economic demands.

The college has improved access to education and training by opening a new employability hub in Sunderland City Centre. City Skills and Careers provides a one-stop-shop for adults who are looking to gain skills and qualifications for employment or to advance their career.

The college also launched an ambitious strategic plan last year, which will shape the strategic direction of the organisation until 2023. It was produced following extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including government bodies, community partners and employers, along with the college’s staff, governors and students.

The strategic vision includes five goals that relate to a careers-focused curriculum: outstanding learning opportunities; a united culture; financial resilience; improving resources and engagement locally, regionally and nationally.

Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East, one of the largest college groups in the country, which includes Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and

Northumberland College, says: “Through transforming external partnerships and enhancing our approach to corporate social responsibility, we attribute our success to close alignment with a broad range of employers and community stakeholders.

“The impact of a careers-focused approach to our courses and a learning experience, built upon the world of work, is life-changing for our students and ensures they progress to a positive destination.”

Sunderland College
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