Engineered Learning's training model offers hope to businesses suffering from skills gap
In a climate where businesses face struggles in recruitment and the role of education in these issues is coming under scrutiny, models deployed by training providers such as Engineered Learning may offer a degree of hope.
The Derby based firm specialises in providing pre-16 training in vocational steel fabrication and welding and is has enjoyed growth in an area of manufacturing training that, according to managing director Dan Read, is not receiving sufficient investment.
Read wrote in The Parliamentary Review: “We are growing rapidly in an area of manufacturing training that is arguably not receiving the necessary investment.
“This is an especially significant achievement in the current climate, where businesses are struggling to recruit and education is at risk of failing to deliver the workforce that British manufacturing employers so desperately need.”
The scrutiny over the role of education and its impact on recruitment has been well-documented. For instance, Conservative peer and former education secretary Lord Baker lampooned the education system in a recent House of Lords debate, criticising the curriculum introduced during Michael Gove’s tenure as education secretary which focussed too greatly on academic subjects and has adversely impacted the levels of students moving into technical and vocational education.
Furthermore, other Review contributors have long spoken about how the skills gap has blighted their sector and forced their business to adapt to the challenge of recruitment, including ARC Coachworks who operate in accident repairs.
During the Lords debate, Lord Baker went on to warn that the skills gap is growing and that technical education itself is now at risk. Yet, the manner in which Engineered Learning has moved to address the problem as a training provider can offer some hope to those facing struggles in hiring skilled workers and perhaps a path to another way in which such education can be delivered.
Discussing Engineered Learning's model in The Parliamentary Review, Read wrote: “Currently, we are developing resources to deliver Level 2 courses to students above the age of 16. This has received a lot of interest from organisations that work with people who are unemployed, are homeless or have left education with few or no qualifications.
“The current skills system is difficult to navigate, but we believe that if we are connected to manufacturing employers’ specific needs, we will be able to offer specialist training courses using individual BTEC units that match each employer’s requirements at pre-16 stages.
“Rather than keeping education and employment as separate entities, we should combine the two to create opportunities and nurture diversity.”
Moving the focus solely away from under-16s and young people is another way in which the firm is looking to address the skills gap. Read wrote in the Review about a future desire within the firm to focus on establishing links with the probation and prison services, in a bid to extend the opportunity of restorative skill development to criminals.
This not only generates more skilled workers, but offers those being rehabilitated after committing crimes a chance to give something back to society.
Elaborating on this future ambition, Read wrote: “This [restorative skill development] will focus on the manufacture of national infrastructure, such as the seating at train or bus stations, and will simultaneously reduce the likelihood of reoffending an help inmates to develop valuable skills.”