The Sheffield College has won a national education award for its trailblazing partnerships with employers and use of technology to adapt to the pandemic.
The Employer Skills Academy and Work-Related Activity Team won the employer engagement category of the Edufuturists Awards.
The awards celebrate innovative educators in the UK and beyond, including schools, colleges and universities connecting education with industry, and were announced at an online ceremony held on July 2nd, 2021.
The College clinched the award for its successful employer skills academies programme, that equips students with the qualifications and skills that employers are looking for, and its use of technology to adapt to Covid-19.
Rachel Topliss, head of employer academy partnerships and work-related activity, The Sheffield College, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win a national education award for our work with the employer skills academies and use of technology during the pandemic that has enabled our students to get the skills, experience and qualifications to go further in their careers.”
Awards spokesperson Steven Hope, from Edufuturists, said: “This year has been a challenge for everyone in our sector – we are proud to be able to do a little bit to champion those who continue to make a difference.”
Louisa Harrison-Walker, executive director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, which launched the first employer skills academy of its kind in the UK with the College, said: “I am delighted but not surprised to see The Sheffield College win the award for employer engagement – a huge congratulations to the very hard working and committed team there. We are very proud to be associated with their excellent work.”
She added: “The employer skills academies programme, launched with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, is a trailblazer and hugely valuable asset to the region. We, in the business community, are incredibly grateful for the excellent work that the College is doing developing the next generation of employees, entrepreneurs and leaders.”
This academic year, 2020/21, around 1,200 students in total have been involved in 15 employer skills academies backed by 13 different employers: Discovery STEM Education, Greene King, Kier Construction, Kryolan, Liberty Steel, Millgate, MSK Ingredients, NextGen Skills Academy, PJ Taste, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Sheffield Sharks, Uniheads and WANdisco.
The curriculum is co-designed with employers to simulate real-life work and covers the business and enterprise, construction, catering and hospitality, cyber security, engineering, animation and special effects, information technology, mental health and wellbeing and professional make-up sectors. The programme launched in September 2019.
Students work in real life employer-led projects and have the opportunity to take part in workplace or industry visits and placements, workshops, masterclasses and webinars involving industry experts provided by the employer sponsor.
Students can also access the new Forage online work experience platform. Working with developers in Sydney, Australia, this has been designed to help students gain an understanding of different roles and industries. Students can also take part in a diverse range of remote work experience opportunities in global companies including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Deloitte to develop employability skills and raise awareness of different roles and industries.
The College’s Online Employability Programme – MoveAhead, GetAhead, StayAhead – offers three virtually delivered programmes catering for all levels and ability. These develop and enhance student’s employability skills, with 60% of content designed and delivered by academy employers and stakeholders.