World-class skills boost for borough as Oldham College joins elite training programme

OLDHAM is to get a world-class skills boost after Oldham College was selected to join an elite training programme. 

Oldham College is one of 12 leading national institutions, including FE colleges and Independent Training Providers, selected to join the skills revolution by becoming part of WorldSkills UK’s Centre of Excellence.

Oldham College

The Centre of Excellence – partnered and funded by educational charity and awarding body NCFE – will see more than 40,000 young students and apprentices, from all socio-economic groups across the UK, armed with world-class skills.

It aims to supercharge the quality and delivery of technical and vocational training by transferring world-class expertise and knowledge to help develop educators and learners.

In its recent Skills for Jobs White Paper for England, the Government cited the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence as a prime example of how it wanted organisations with the relevant expertise to provide high-quality training and development for teaching staff.

Educators at Oldham College will now get exclusive ‘train the trainer’ sessions plus 60 hours of intensive continual professional development.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “We’re proud and excited to be part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence.”

“This is another significant step in our work to deliver world-class skills provision and it will benefit our staff, our learners of all ages, local employers and the wider economy.

“We’re uniquely placed to deliver the skills that the future workforce needs because of our fantastic facilities and strong business links – and becoming part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence strengthens that even further and helps us to upskill learners to the highest possible standards.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive

“We entered our biggest-ever squad in the WorldSkills UK competitions across 17 different areas this year.

“Four learners have made it to the prestigious National Finals in November and all 71 students that took part have gained invaluable experience of competing in real-life, industry-based scenarios and environments.

“Being a part of the Centre of Excellence will accelerate this work: enabling our staff to equip the next generation of talent to the very best standards and sharing their new-found skills with colleagues and learners across every course and industry sector.”

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, CEO of WorldSkills UK, said: “In order to deliver the world-class skills that employers demand to be internationally competitive, we need to invest in the educators that are training young people for the future.”

“The Centre of Excellence is a radical new way of bringing global best practice to local economies. Mainstreaming excellence in training standards and delivering it directly to tens of thousands of young students and apprentices at their places of learning is key to levelling up the economy and attracting inward investment.

“This new phase of the project means that we are now supporting young people the length and breadth of the UK.”

The programme covers three strands: Train the trainer modules; the harnessing of international industry best practice through preparation for WorldSkills Shanghai 2022; and influencing setters of training standards.

The effectiveness of the programme will be tested by measuring impact on learners, educators and institutions in order to continually develop and innovate. This level of insight will help the organisations involved to develop a programme which will give more young people, irrespective of background, better work and life opportunities, and help boost economic productivity.

The three-year partnership deal is the single largest investment ever made by the NCFE Group.

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