July 2020

College backs regional skills pledge to boost learners and businesses

By Darren Campbell

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University College Birmingham has joined with institutions across the West Midlands in committing to a collaborative pledge supporting students and local businesses amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The College is one of 21 further education providers in the region to have signed up to the Colleges West Midlands Education and Skills Pledge, outlining support for individual learners and firms through a variety of measures and opportunities to boost recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The Colleges West Midlands pledge says:

  1. All learners will continue to receive online or distance learning delivery right through to the end of the summer term.
  2. All full-time students, whether new or continuing, will receive an enhanced transition programme at the start of the new academic year to ensure they are able to successfully move on with their studies.
  3. Young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), or long-term unemployed, will be supported directly through college-focused programmes and with specialist help and referrals.
  4. Adult education provision will be reconfigured to focus on areas of need and to support more flexibility in the way adults may wish to study.
  5. Unemployed adults, recently redundant or long-term furloughed employees from high-risk industries will have access to an expanded range of redeployment programmes to enable a prompt return to employment.
  6. Apprentices will continue to receive learning and reviews online until safe working arrangements at employer premises have been agreed by both parties. Employers will still be able to sign up new apprentices and begin their programme at any time during the period when access to college sites is restricted.
  7. Learners progressing to higher education will be able to access an optional transition programme to support their next steps.
  8. A single access point will be created to support employers looking to recruit new employees.

Paul Doherty, Executive Director (Employability, Engagement and E-resources) at University College Birmingham, said: "The response to the current situation has been remarkable. The ability of our teaching and support staff to rise to the challenge and adapt has been very impressive.

"None of us could have predicted at the start of the year what challenges were awaiting us. I am incredibly proud of how well everyone at University College Birmingham has adapted so quickly to online teaching and working, with a clearly embedded passion to ensure our students achieve the best possible experience and outcome during challenging circumstances.

"More than 100 online course information events have been delivered and the attendance and commitment from applicants has been equal to face-to-face events. This tells us that our 2020 cohort are not phased and their determination to progress with their career plans and future aspirations will not be put on hold."

See the latest updates on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic here, or discover more about the wide range of further education courses and training we provide here.