TLC secured over £40,000 of funding from the Education and Training Foundation to deliver the ‘Developing Digital Skills in Lancashire’ programme. The programme was focused on the digital sector, one of the Lancashire LEP’s seven priority sectors. We wanted to engage digital sector employers in providing industry days and specialist masterclasses to college tutors and their learners. We wanted to do this to encourage employers to work more closely with colleges sharing their expertise with learners. We also wanted to help colleges to ensure that their digital skills curriculum is relevant so that learners will have the skills that are needed by employers and the local economy.
Through the programme we provided nearly 200 college students with an opportunity to meet with and learn from industry specialists from the digital sector, locally. They learnt about the latest advances in the sector and gained a greater understanding of the skills that employers are looking for. We delivered 14 Masterclasses and one Industry Day through the project, working with Roq, Pixel Mill, Novi Digital, Pulse Media, CompTIA and Prism Gallery.
Over 85% of students who attended a Masterclass said that as a result they had learnt more about the different skills needed for a job in the digital sector while 100% of college staff involved in planning and delivering Masterclasses with an employer said that they would recommend the class to another college.
Following the programme, all of the employers involved said they would like to do more work with colleges helping them to understand the digital sector. However, they also said that they would not have been able to deliver the Masterclasses/Industry Days without the financial support provided through the programme.
The programme has taught college students new skills and techniques that are relevant to the digital sector, it has increased their awareness of the different career opportunities in the sector and the skills needed by local employers. It has also helped colleges to build lasting relationships with local employers and shown industry specialists the value that can be gained through engaging more with colleges. We hope this will lead to further opportunities for colleges to engage employers in curriculum development, teaching, provision of work placements, etc. in the future.