Assistant Principal Outlines Higher Education Offering To Fill Local Jobs

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Stockport College’s recently appointed Assistant Principal has been talking exclusively to Stockport Mail about the exciting new courses due to be rolled out in the coming months and plans to help local companies fill positions.
Mark Harris joined the college in September last year and has been busy helping launch a new curriculum structure and skills strategy.
It is part of a broader plan to expand the amount of leaners at the college from the current figure of 600 to 1200 over the next few years.
But as Mark explained, this isn’t just about boosting student numbers:
“It’s all focussed around making sure we only develop programmes that the local area needs and that there is a job outcome” he said.
“The Destination Leavers Survey which is an external measurement shows that 97% of Stockport College students go into employment within six months of finishing study”.
It’s an impressive figure which puts the college about 5% ahead of the national measure and 10% of the achievement figure.
It’s clear that the College provides a vital role in the Stockport community in a time when he reputation of further education is perhaps being tarnished by stories of young people getting into debt, travelling all over the country to learn and still not having the opportunity of a job at the end of it.
“Most of our learners wouldn’t enter higher education if we weren’t on their doorstep” Mark continues. “Most of them have got jobs and families and it fits in with their lifestyle. If you’re a local adult that can access higher education that can open up opportunities for you.”
The split between younger learners leaving sixth form and older students looking to retrain for new skills.
Most importantly, Stockport College is looking to help fill a skills gap experienced not just in Greater Manchester but all over the UK where there are plenty of jobs filled in lower skills areas and higher senior areas but not in the middle area known as Higher Level Technicians.
Also many skilled areas have an aging workforce and Stockport College is looking to help revitalise this by producing qualified students to fill these positions for local companies.
The areas Stockport College is focussing on are construction and engineering, professional services and care.
“We are also looking at developing Foundation Degrees and Higher Nationals as this provides the best candidates to fill that skills gap” he said.
The college has partnered with Sheffield Hallam University to help build new Higher Level Apprenticeships and has also developed a suite of courses to be launched next year Health, Care and Education sector which will provide training for people to go into the classroom as teaching assistants and special educational needs assistants.
There are also opportunities for learners interested in arts subjects, with some traditional disciplines still included:
“There is a great need in the Greater Manchester and Stockport areas for creative industries and we are currently going through a new look to our arts programmes including illustration and graphic design” Mark explains.
With the regeneration of Stockport Town Centre moving on apace and the College being very much at the centre of the exciting £2 billion plans, the future for the area is looking very bright indeed, providing an educational offering tailored to meet the needs of the people and business in its local community, a concept quite unique anywhere in the UK.
For more information on courses at Stockport College you can contact them on 0161 296 5000 or at www.stockport.ac.uk.