Checklist will help colleges to meet skills needs

The Learning and Skills Development Agency has developed a scheme to help further education colleges to check that the courses they offer address the needs of business

A ‘health check’, designed to help further education colleges to assess how responsive they are to the needs of employers, has been launched by the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA).

The programme highlights the importance of ’employer engagement’ as a key priority in the strategic development of colleges and is intended as a benchmarking tool.

The health check contains 48 statements against which colleges can assess how well they are performing in areas such as preparing young people for work and supporting the training and development needs of businesses.

Against each statement, the college is invited to grade itself on a scale of one to five, to state its development needs and provide examples of good practice.

The health check also invites colleges to consider how their capacity to meet the skill needs of employers is reflected in their their policies and processes for quality improvement, target setting, service standards, information management and staff development.

Andrew Thomson, chief executive of the LSDA, said employer engagement needs to be a mainstream rather than a fringe activity if colleges are to be able to respond fully to the national skills shortage and contribute to economic regeneration.

The LSDA was set up by the government to improve the quality of post-16 education and training in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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