Day 4 – St David’s Day in Seattle

img_0188

Waking up this morning in this great city, our initial thoughts turned to the close encounter we had last night with its resident vermin. Luckily, the closeness of this now well-bonded group got us through this traumatic experience.

Sadly, Chris from the British Council has left us to go and meet Carwyn Jones (The First Minister) in Washington. He will be sorely missed but we still have Jenna who is guiding us through the week with a calm, steadying hand and organisational perfection.

We had a slightly later (well received) start to St David’s Day. A brisk walk along the waterfront for some shopping and then back to meet the group to pick up our Uber taxi to Redmond which is in the North East of Seattle. We were visiting the Digipen Institute of Technology, a private training provider that specialises in high tech training. It was great to see a huge red dragon in the foyer on this special day and the wow factor of large plasma screens, creativity, artwork and awards the company and its students have won.

We were met at Digipen by Raymond Yan, Senior Vice President. A charismatic, kind and generous man with a real passion for delivering a future for young people. A phrase we heard previously in the week of “Leadership and Execution” sprung to mind. His positive, inclusive, can-do attitude provides a set of beliefs and values that the business is built on and has led to expansion in Singapore and Bilbao. In Digipen, there are currently 1100 graduates studying a mixture of  Computer science and Art programmes. These degrees service the digital interactive industry and are focused on employment. There is a cohesive and collaborative approach to studying for the degrees with each discipline challenged to work together to replicate industrial standards and needs. It’s not surprising that their progression rate to employment is high. Exposure to this high tec and demanding industry at this level prepares students well for the real world, even though they are paying $26000 a year for the privilege. Resources are privately funded and cutting edge. Support for learners is clear and the philosophy or ‘spirit’ as Ray put it is one of challenge and support in all its various guises. Students are encouraged to strive for excellence at all levels. There is even a long standing programme of training for high school students who complete college level work at the company on a weekly basis. It seems a great place to study and has an ambience of success seeping from its walls. Having degree programmes on an industrial site seems to make the whole setup more professional and being closer to industry itself gives the programmes more purpose for learners to succeed.

In contrast to the private funding of Digipen our next stop was to the Lake Washington Institute of Technology. It was friendly and welcoming and more like the FE Colleges in Wales. The community and technical colleges in Washington State have the aim of preparing students for work. There is open access admission with some selected admissions based on previous performance. A national recognised IBEST programme moves hard to reach students further and faster, providing career contextualised training for underserved population in reading, writing and maths. This has improved completion for these students from 25% to 75%. Under legislation, all programmes have to have an advisory body consisting of a range of stakeholders from industry. This ensures that programmes meet their needs and provides students with the best chances of job security in the future. In some instances, the college use the Dacum process which helps them establish a new curriculum from initial ideas. These are initiatives that we can learn from. The College is also currently developing an initial entry test based on student self selection from their initial essay performance. This is in stark contrast to the prescriptive WEST testing in Wales.

The inclusive nature of the College and its determination to provide a “human touch” for its students reminds me of so many colleges in Wales.

Later on in the early evening we had the privilege of attending their open day. This was very similar to what we have in Wales but it is evident that the College specialise in certain disciplines; in this case good examples are dental hygienists and funeral directors! Perhaps Colleges in Wales are trying to maintain a curriculum that is too broad? Would colleges be better specialising in different fields of the curriculum depending on their specialism, forming centres of excellence?

Prior to attending the College we were not sure of the link between the college and industry. After our visit however, we were convinced of the hard work and dedication college staff had invested to ensure progression into industrial jobs for young people.

The two visits today were of stark contrast; highlighting the difference between both private and public sector education. Both were illuminating and similarities included their passion to provide young people with opportunities to establish their careers, albeit in different financial circumstances.

In terms of our group, we were back to full quota after a period of illness and it was great to see everyone learning from these experiences. Roll on Starbucks tomorrow, there seems to one of these coffee shops every 100 yards in Seattle!

Day 4 – Team #InnovateFE

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Day 3 – Career Connected Learning

 c5ydfruu0aaqggr

It was the very early start to day three which opened our eyes to the issue of homelessness in Seattle.  With Washington state ranked in the top 10 American states for its quality of life and evidencing the highest minimum wage in the USA; our drive through the city exposed the scale of this issue and left our delegation questioning why? Seattle reported that it has been hit particularly hard by the homelessness issue and we clearly saw how tent cities are now part of everyday life. 

 We travelled to Olympia, the capital of Washington state, and met with a team of dynamic professionals.  The energy of the Association of Washington Business (AWB) and Workforce Training & Education Co-ordinating Board was contagious; what a great team!  The board describe themselves as ‘small and nimble’, explaining how this enables flexibility to independently evaluate effectiveness of their programmes. They demonstrated how ‘apples to apples’ comparisons are made using state employment security data to analyse and further develop the impact of training.  Using a net impact study every 4 to 5 years the board are able to compare those students who undertake a workforce programme against those who don’t.  The Board drills down into the data and identifies where learners progress in the labour market from college, both on exit and at later points in their careers. 

 The AWB, founded in 1904, is focused on the ‘business of business’.  They are an advocate for the ‘risk taker, entrepreneur, dreamer and taxpayer’ and certainly inspired our delegation with their vibrant enthusiasm.  Their ‘Generation Apocalypse’ plan for a workforce summit aims to raise awareness of workforce changes.  We discussed and shared strategies about succession planning; exploring how baby boomers are retiring, how generation X’s are becoming Washington states new leaders and how generation Z’s are taking on greater responsibilities as they enter the workforce.  This highlighted the need for greater connectivity between business and education; ensuring all stakeholders ‘row’ in the same direction to fill skills gaps and meet the needs of the future workforce. How well do we build Wales’ talent pipeline for years to come?

 We were curious about how Washington state use an online tool called ‘career bridge’ which enables young people engagement in a personal journey of career exploration.   We were interested to hear how Washington states multiple pathways concept assures students that there are no wrong career pathways.  Career exploration and lifelong learning approaches connect learning and provide opportunities for young people to trial out different careers. The engine to this is the use of Industry skill panels which bring the right people to the table to talk about skills.  What works best to connect young people to the world of work and what works best to result in career success is tangible and measured impressively for the states ROI.  

We were told about how Washington states vision and mission for workforce development aims to help more people find jobs that lead to economic self sufficiency. The Washington State Board for Community & Technical colleges have created centres of excellence to support this, however recruiting experienced skills professionals appears to be challenging. With their 34 colleges enrolling 6 out of every 10 full time students, career connected learning opportunities are the majority.

We met with Washington State’s Employment Security Department who declare that it has the World’s best workforce.  Forbes recently listed Washington state among the 10 best states for business. As we uncovered yesterday, it is the birthplace of some of the world’s best companies and is one of the most highly trained and educated workforces in America. With Washington’s expanding labour force, it has grown by 85,000 from 2014 to 2015, with more than 3.5 million people in the workforce today. 

 Concluding our schedule with another question – how can we create jobs in Wales that regular people can have which pay well?

We then extended our day to accept a tour around Washington State’s Legislative Building and further extended our experience to include skills participation at the community and technical college legislative reception.  It was great to end our visit to Olympia in the company of students.  On our drive back to Seattle, we were able to reflect on Washington state’s department of commerce’s reason to choose Washington: “We change the world a little every day, driven by a passion to build a brighter future”.  After a 12 hour day we arrived back in Seattle with just enough time to prepare for another busy day tomorrow.

 Day 3 – Team #InnovateFE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Day 2: Mind the (Skills) Gap Seattle – from the cradle to a career

 

c5uxxd6xmaapzjiWell, what a first day in Seattle. It was great to have the company of Jenna, from British Council, USA and Chris, British Council Wales. We received a warm welcome from all we met, who were so pleased to see us, and proud to share their successes and challenges. We have learnt so much about Seattle, King County and the education system in the USA.

 

 Many thanks especially to Seattle College, The Office for Economic Development, Ada’s Software Development Academy, Amazon and the  Washington Round table.

 

 Seattle, has several claims to fame; it re-invented the coffee break (Starbucks), developed the personal computer (Microsoft), and connected the world through air travel, (Boeing).

 

Seattle is also home to globally recognised companies, such as Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Costco and Expedia.  These companies are used to attract other companies and as a hub for record levels of innovation and  research. King County/Seattle was Bloomberg’s – most innovative state in the USA in 2013. Seattle has developed industry clusters such as aerospace, IT, life sciences, maritime, finance and clean technology. These clusters have been key to developing emerging industries such as biomedical devices, big data/cloud and space exploration! Seattle is committed to being ‘ahead’ of the curve.

 

Equally, as important in attracting industry and ‘talent’, is the quality of life, especially the outdoor activities and cultural activities.

 

I think these are two areas which Wales could look to replicate. That is greater focus on clusters, through innovation, eg, let’s get going with the proposed lagoons! Also, do we promote Wales, well enough as a great place to play, live and work?

 

Seattle growth has been exponential, for a city on the periphery of the USA, again, a possible parallel with Wales. Seattle was in deep recession, a decade ago, things needed to change. Seattle had been too reliant on having the ‘luck of the two Bills’, Boeing and Gates. Political and business leaders have focussed on developing  innovation and creativity as a central feature of the DNA of the city. A hugely, positive, ‘can-do’ attitude prevails. The result – massive jobs growth and incomes way above the USA or UK averages.

 

One of the impressive planning tools, we saw, was the research into the future labour market needs of the local economy.  This was available to everyone via websites and reports, sponsored by business support organisations. Data was available down to specific occupational areas.

 

A fascinating report, examined, Washington state’s five year jobs outlook, to shine a spotlight on the jobs that will be available. They found there will be 740,000 new jobs, three times the national average. These new jobs will be jobs that will need qualifications, equivalent  to levels 3,4 and 5 in the UK. The report identified a ‘leaky pipeline’ (like Wales) which produces skills gaps, as people drop out of the system, some become Neet, thousands drop out from 16-18, while thousands more do not achieve credentials/qualifications at the appropriate level.

 

 The challenge – only 31% of local, high school students have qualifications at the required levels. The message from the report is that less than a third of young people are ready to progress to these jobs. Scary, too many jobs, not enough people with the skills!

 

Again, this is useful to contrast with the challenges in Wales, to ensure our young people have the skills required by the new industries. Basic skills and Stem seem to be a worldwide themes.

 

 As well, as publicly funded colleges, Seattle has a large number of Boot Camps, set up to provide short, sharp, training courses, focused on employee needs, such as software and coding.  We visited an inspiring, centre for disadvantaged women, who provided tuition free, one year, intensive courses in coding. Ada’s has great support from software companies who provide placements and job opportunities.

 

 Some of the more bizarre events, included, having dinner with a stuffed Cougar overlooking us. Thunder snow. The wacky culture of Amazon, which included, the opportunity to bring your dog to work, while two of the group, had to contact the USA medical services, a doctor and a dentist. They were crying on their return, not because of the pain, but because of the damage to their pocket.

Team #InnovateFE

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Hello Seattle

Hello, Seattle!

After an incredibly long day’s travelling (Seattle is eight hours behind UK time), the seven of us (eight, including Chris from British Council Wales who will be with us for the first half of the visit) finally arrived in Seattle.   

Although we have an action-packed week of visits to colleges, employers and policy-makers lined up – today (Sunday) was actually a free day to explore.  The weather was a bit cold and rainy but that didn’t deter us.  Amongst the range of sights we covered between us all were Pike Place Market (everything from fish to enormous crabs, to hats and chocolates), the ‘Space Needle’, a museum about music and pop culture, the first ever branch of Starbucks, and, on local recommendation, the Crumpet Shop, which was my personal favourite.

What we found most striking was the similarities between the issues facing Wales and the problems identified by organisations like the Association of Washington Business.  Challenges such as an ageing population; how to ensure that all parts of the health profession have sufficient staff; businesses not being able to find staff with the right skills; the need to improve employability and develop a culture of life-long learning; how to address infrastructure; all these are familiar to anyone acquainted with the economy of Wales.  Skills gaps in Seattle in ‘Global Trade and Supply Chain Management’ alone range from technical writing and management to truck drivers and dock workers.  The lack of awareness of the full range of career options available is something that is not well understood by learners or staff and this is an issue frequently raised in Wales too.

In the evening, we met Jenna from the British Council as part of a welcome dinner.  We ate in the ‘Cougar Room’, a private dining room with a stuffed cougar in a glass case, and is a room where mafia discussions are alleged to have taken place.  It certainly added something to the atmosphere! 

We talked through the objectives for our visit and the programme for the week, concentrating particularly on the first day where we’ll be visiting the Seattle College District, Ada Developer’s Academy (an intensive software development training programme for women), the Headquarters of Amazon, as well as meeting the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County.  We discussed what – if anything – employers and educators might know about Wales, what we might be able to learn about engagement with employers (large and small), curriculum design and how Seattle takes account of employer needs, the challenges of ensuring that what is taught in Further Education settings is what employers really want, and a range of other issues.  Jenna assured us that the people we’ll be meeting will have as many questions for us as we’ll have for them.  Fortunately, our delegation has a huge amount of knowledge and experience of the detail and complexity of the Further Education sector in Wales, as well as the economy more widely.  The opportunity to see and discuss how Seattle addresses challenges that Wales also faces is hugely important and we’re all really keen to learn from the week ahead but, just as importantly, to put into practice what we’ve seen and heard wherever possible, share this knowledge and influence policy development in Wales. 

The discussions over the coming week will range from strategic and technical to the more ‘mundane’ or foundational economy.  We all noticed that customer service had been of an extremely high standard everywhere we had visited, for instance, and we talked about the skills, training and attitudes needed for this.  This was an issue none of us had identified as part of the preparation for the visit to Seattle but could be applied to Wales.

As well as having some fantastic food, the evening was good fun.  The person who sat at the head of the table (in front of the stuffed cougar, and who shall, for the purposes of this blog, remain unidentified), achieved the nickname ‘Don Cougar’, in the mafia fashion.  Whether this sticks for the rest of the week remains to be seen!

No blog would be complete without some sort of pun so to end, I’m really hoping jetlag doesn’t leave me sleepless in Seattle…..

Day 1 – Team #InnovateFE

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Etifeddiaeth y prosiect DPP: Paratoi ar gyfer byd sy’n newid

O’n cwmpas gwelir newidiadau enfawr ar y gweill. Mae Prydain yn barod i adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, mae Llywydd Etholedig yr Unol Daleithiau yn seren realiti o’r teledu ac ymddengys fod y byd yn gyffredinol yn fwyfwy cymhleth a darniog.

Yn ein sector ein hunain gyda’r newidiadau enfawr i Sgiliau Hanfodol, y Fagloriaeth a TGAU Cymraeg, beth y gellir ei wneud i gynyddu gwytnwch ar gyfer yr adegau anrhagweladwy o’n blaenau? Yn fwy nag erioed, mae angen arweinwyr doeth ac ymarferol sy’n galluogi ac yn annog eu staff i ddatblygu fel eu bod ar frig eu gêm wrth gyflwyno dysgu.

Mae llawer o ffyrdd i arweinwyr cefnogi eu staff i hogi eu galluoedd ond un o’r rhai mwyaf cost effeithiol yw drwy eu hannog i fynychu gwe-seminarau ac adnoddau mynediad sydd eisoes ar gael ac weithiau am ddim, ar-lein.

Mae prosiect DPP ColegauCymru (a ariennir bellach trwy Cymwysterau Cymru) yn dod i ben yn naturiol ym Mehefin 2017 ond mae pawb dan sylw yn canolbwyntio ar sicrhau bod ei etifeddiaeth yn byw yn hir ar ôl y dyddiad hwnnw. Mae rhai o’r adnoddau Llythrennedd Digidol a ddatblygwyd ar y prosiect eisoes ar gael am ddim ar-lein ac mae eraill ar y gweill. Yn ogystal, mae llawer o’r gwe-seminarau sydd wedi’u cynnal hyd yn hyn yn cael eu cofnodi ac ar gael – a bydd y nifer hwn yn cynyddu yn ystod y misoedd sy’n weddill o’r prosiect. Mae’r adnoddau – a fydd ar gael yn ddwyieithog – a gwe-seminarau, yn rhydd i gael mynediad drwy’r adran sgiliau ôl-16 o Moodle ColegauCymru a byddant yn parhau i fod ar gael y tu hwnt i 2017.

Felly, os ydych yn gobeithio cynyddu gwytnwch yn eich sefydliad a pharatoi eich hun neu eich staff ar gyfer y dyfodol – cofiwch ymweld â Moodle ColegauCymru yn y misoedd nesaf i weld yr ystod o adnoddau dwyieithog – a gwyliwch allan am gynhadledd prosiect DPP.

 

 

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Legacy of the CPD Project: Preparing for a changing world

All around us there are massive changes underway. Britain is poised to leave the European Union, the President Elect in the USA is an ex-reality TV host and the world in general seems to be increasingly complicated and fragmenting.

In our own sector with the huge changes to Essential Skills, the Welsh Baccalaureate and GCSEs, what can be done to increase resilience for the unpredictable times ahead? More than ever we need wise and practical leaders who enable and encourage their staff to develop so that they are at the top of their game when delivering learning.

There are many ways for leaders to support their staff to hone their abilities but one of the most cost effective is by encouraging them to attend webinars and access resources that are already available and sometimes free, online.   

The ColegauCymru CPD project (now funded by Qualifications Wales) comes to a natural end in June 2017 but everyone involved is focussed on ensuring that its legacy lives on long after that date. Some of the Digital Literacy resources developed on the project are already freely available online and others are in the pipeline. In addition many of the webinars that have been held to date were recorded and are available – and this number will increase during the remaining months of the project. The resources – which will be available bilingually – and webinars, are free to access through the Skills Post16 section of the ColegauCymru Moodle  and they will continue to be available beyond 2017.

So if you are looking to increase resilience in your organisation and prepare yourself or your staff for the future – keep visiting the ColegauCymru Moodle in the coming months to see the range of bilingual resources build – and watch out for the CPD Project dissemination conference.

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Busnes mentrus …? Sylwadau ar sicrhau ansawdd prosiect sgiliau ôl-16

Mae ymarferwyr a rheolwyr yn gyfarwydd ag egwyddorion a systemau sy’n sicrhau ansawdd effeithiol mewn sefydliadau. Rydym yn gweithio fel mater o drefn gyda chraffu QA mewnol ac allanol a gyda sefyllfa pob sefydliad ar sut y gall damcaniaethau megis ‘Cyfanswm Rheoli Ansawdd’ neu gwella proses yn cael eu cymhwyso i wahanol gyd-destunau. Gall heriau penodol wrth ddyfeisio a gweithredu strategaeth Sicrhau Ansawdd sy’n gweithio ar gyfer tîm o ymgynghorwyr cyflwyno prosiect Cymru gyfan a ariennir yn gyhoeddus ac yn craffu allanol, gyda cyrhaeddiad ac effaith genedlaethol.

Mae cynnwys a nod y prosiect o’r cychwyn cyntaf yn rhan annatod o’r ffordd y mae’r strategaeth Sicrwydd Ansawdd wedi cael ei sefydlu a’i ddatblygu ymhellach. Yn y bôn, mae’r tîm a ddyfeisiodd y rhaglen – ynghyd â strwythur modiwlaidd ac adnoddau cysylltiedig – er mwyn cefnogi ymarferwyr Addysg Bellach, Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith a Dysgu Cymunedol i Oedolion wrth weithredu’r TGAU, Bagloriaeth Cymru a Sgiliau Hanfodol newydd. Mae sesiynau hyfforddi gyda staff y sector yn ganolog i greu tasglu o staff medrus i gymryd y rhaglen yn ei blaen a sicrhau ei gynaliadwyedd ym mhob sector.
O ddechrau’r prosiect, ein nodau SA oedd • adnabod a rheoli risg effeithlon • Cynnal safonau • Cysondeb o ran cyflenwi • Mesur effaith Ar y lefel yma o ymgysylltiad cenedlaethol, mae llunio a diweddaru Cofrestr Risg ar lefel prosiect yn hanfodol.  Mae adnabod ac adolygu risgiau sy’n gysylltiedig â rolau a chyfrifoldebau, cyllid, ansawdd a chyflawni yn eitemau agenda gwerthfawr ym mhob cyfarfod tîm. Rhaid i unrhyw brosiect o’r math ac ar y lefel hon asesu a datrys risg yn ffurfiol ac ar y cyd.
Gweithiodd y tîm, ynghyd â chydweithwyr mewn tri grŵp rhanbarthol, i greu adnoddau a chyflwyno sesiynau hyfforddi: gyda phob un ohonynt yn sicrwydd ansawdd. Cafodd adnoddau a deunyddiau newydd eu wirio am ansawdd cyn ei ddefnyddio a chrewyd sampl gynrychioliadol o sesiynau yn amodol ar werthusiad sylwedydd. Mae didueddrwydd yn her er bod y tîm estynedig wedi gwella hyn drwy ddatblygu gwell dogfennaeth a chanolbwyntio ar cynaliadwyedd yn y dyfodol.

Cyflawnwyd darpariaeth gyson drwy graffu’n rheolaidd ar adborth y cyfranogwyr (gan gasglu a’u coladu yn electronig) a’i gydberthynas â data gwerthuso arsyllwr. Fel gydag unrhyw system ar-lein, roedd problemau ond gyda gwelliannau olynol daeth golygu gwell a dadansoddiadau mwy ystyrlon, ac mae adroddiadau ar gael pan fo angen. Roedd mesur effaith gyffredinol yn her – cafodd data meintiol ei hadalw o gofnodion prosiect ac adroddiadau cynnydd a nodwyd cerrig milltir allweddol, ond weithiau roedd y dangosyddion llai diriaethol ac ansoddol a oedd y mwyaf grymus … Rydym yn canolbwyntio ar sut y gallai mynd i’r adael â rhain: mi fydd tystiolaeth tysteb o staff ar bob lefel, datganiadau pwerus mewn adborth, mewnbwn gan ymarferwyr mewn digwyddiadau yn ran fawr yn ein cynhadledd!

I gloi, mae sicrhau ansawdd y prosiect yn wahanol iawn ond eto yn debyg i systemau ac ymarferion y mae’n debyg bod gennych yn eich sefydliadau yn barod. Roedd yn amodol ar yr holl straen gyfarwydd ar amser ac adnoddau ar gael. Roedd sicrhau cofnodi llwyddiannau a’r heriau yn ganolog, ynghyd â chanolbwyntio ar etifeddiaeth y prosiect – gydag ymarferwyr sy’n wybodus, hyderus ac wedi’u grymuso gydag adnoddau i ddelio â her y cymwysterau newydd.

 

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

A risky business…? Observations on quality assuring the Skills Post-16 project

Practitioners and managers are familiar with principles and systems of effective quality assurance in organisations.  We routinely work with internal and external QA scrutiny and with each institution’s ‘take’ on how theories such as ‘Total Quality Management’ or process improvement can be applied to various contexts.  But there are particular challenges in devising and implementing a QA strategy that works for a team of consultants delivering a publicly funded and externally scrutinised, pan-Wales project with national reach and impact.

The content and aim of the project from the outset were integral to the way that the QA strategy was established and further developed. Essentially, the team devised a programme – complete with modular structure and associated resources – to support FE, WBL and ACL practitioners in their implementation of the new GCSE, Welsh Baccalaureate and Essential Skills qualifications. Training sessions with sector staff were central to creating a task force of skilled staff to take the programme forward and ensure its sustainability in all sectors.

From the start of the project, our QA aims were to ensure

  • Effective identification and management of risk
  • Maintenance of standards
  • Consistency of delivery
  • Measurement of impact

At this level of national engagement, compiling and regularly updating a project level Risk Register proved vital.  Anticipating and reviewing risks related to roles and responsibilities, finance, quality and achieving deadlines were valued agenda items at all team meetings.  Any project of this nature and at this level must assess and resolve risk formally and collectively.

The team worked together with colleagues in three regional groups to create resources and deliver training sessions: all of which were quality assured.  New resources and materials were quality assured before use and a representative sample of sessions were subject to observer evaluation.  Impartiality was a challenge though the team enhanced this by developing better documentation and focusing more on future sustainability.

Consistent delivery was achieved by regular scrutiny of participant feedback (collected and collated electronically) and its correlation with observer evaluation data.  As with any online system, there were glitches but successive improvements meant better and more meaningful analyses and reports were available when needed.

Measurement of overall impact was a challenge – quantitative data was retrieved from project records and progress reports identified key milestones, but sometimes it was the less tangible and more qualitative indicators that were the most compelling… We focussed on how these could be captured: testimonial evidence from staff at all levels, powerful statements in feedback, inputs from practitioners at events will all feature large in our summary dissemination conference!

In conclusion, QA of the project was very different yet very similar to systems and practice you probably have in your own organisation. It was subject to all too familiar stresses on compliance caused by pressures on time and available resources. Ensuring that success was documented and challenges resolved was central, together with focussing on the project legacy – practitioners who are well-informed, confident and empowered with resources to meet the challenges of the new qualifications.

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

CPD Project WBL Taskforce – A strategy for sustainability

The impact of the Review of Qualifications has been felt across Post 16 education and training in Wales.  In response the ColegauCymru CPD programme was designed to support all colleagues who are involved in delivering skills – whether they work in a college, Adult Learning (ACL) or Work Based Learning (WBL) setting. Working alongside colleagues from Work Based Learning (WBL) on this project has been particularly interesting for members of the Project Team.

The Phases of the project were roughly as follows:

Phase 1 – raising awareness of the changes, eliciting views about what assessment could look like, ensuring voices were heard, helping practitioners to understand how the qualifications would work, listening to managers lay out approaches and identify changes that would need to be introduced.

Phase 2 – working with colleagues from the four Awarding Organisations and Welsh Government on refining the Design Principles then devising, creating and implementing guidance for practitioners and learners.

Phase 3 – the practicalities of teaching, learning and assessment.  Much time was spent developing active delivery methods with elements of creativity and enjoyment to maximise the impact staff could make with their learners in the limited time they have with them. This remains the single greatest concern for the WBL sector.

Staff accessed ESW modules on the ColegauCymru Moodle to complete individual CPD.  They also had access to a learner WEST account where the brave undertook skills testing, gap analysis and skills improvement – just as their learners would. But the real fun was in workshops across Wales looking at content covering ‘Being a Reflective Practitioner’, ‘Building Subject-Specific Skills’ and ‘Achieving Success’ – always maintaining a keen focus on preparing learners for success.

Phase 4 – the future. The final phase of the programme sees the handover of the work to colleagues within the participating organisations. The earlier phases have clearly demonstrated the positive impact of effective partnership and so this forms the basis of the future strategy. To deliver this sustainable legacy, Lisa Harris (Chair of NTfW ESW Network) and Tori Edwards (Vice Chair of ColegauCymru equivalent) facilitated the meeting of a pan-Wales taskforce of trainers on 10th November 2016 to discuss the challenges and agree ways to progress.

As in Phase 2, the focus will be how to maintain and further develop high quality learning for all learners to support them to succeed.  Once operational, this team will facilitate events in North and South Wales before following up with developments in their own organisation or consortium – so ensuring that new and existing staff will continue to benefit from the legacy of the project.

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment

Tasglu Prosiect Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith – Strategaeth ar gyfer cynaliadwyedd

Mae effaith yr Adolygiad Cymwysterau wedi cael ei deimlo ar draws y sector addysg a hyfforddiant ôl-16 yng Nghymru.  Fel ymateb, cafodd rhaglen DPP ColegauCymru ei chynllunio i gefnogi’r holl gydweithwyr sy’n ymwneud â chyflwyno sgiliau – o fewn colegau, Dysgu Oedolion Cymunedol (ACL) neu Dysgu yn y Gwaith (WBL). Mae gweithio ochr yn ochr â chydweithwyr o Ddysgu Seiliedig ar Waith (WBL) ar y prosiect hwn wedi bod yn arbennig o ddiddorol i aelodau o’r Tîm Prosiect.
Mae camau’r prosiect yn fras fel a ganlyn:

Cam 1 – codi ymwybyddiaeth o’r newidiadau, ennyn barn am sut y gallai asesiad edrych, gan sicrhau clywed lleisiau a gan helpu ymarferwyr i ddeall sut y byddai’r cymwysterau yn gweithio, gwrando ar reolwyr yn gosod allan ymagweddau a nodi newidiadau y byddai angen eu cyflwyno.
Cam 2 – gweithio gyda chydweithwyr o bedwar Sefydliad Dyfarnu a Llywodraeth Cymru ar fireinio’r Egwyddorion Dylunio ac yna dyfeisio, creu a gweithredu canllawiau ar gyfer ymarferwyr a dysgwyr.
Cam 3 – yr agweddau ymarferol ar addysgu, dysgu ac asesu. Treuliwyd llawer o amser yn datblygu dulliau cyflwyno gweithredol gydag elfennau o greadigrwydd a mwynhad er mwyn cael y gorau allan o effaith staff ar eu dysgwyr yn yr amser cyfyngedig sydd ganddynt. Mae hyn yn parhau i fod y pryder unigol mwyaf ar gyfer y sector dysgu seiliedig ar waith.

Aeth staff ar fodiwlau SHC ar Moodle ColegauCymru i gwblhau DPP unigol. Cawsant hefyd fynediad at gyfrif WEST dysgwr er mwyn cynnal profion sgiliau, dadansoddi bylchau a gwella sgiliau – yn union fel y byddai eu dysgwyr. Ond cafwyd yr hwyl go iawn mewn gweithdai ledled Cymru gan edrych ar gynnwys ‘Bod yn Ymarferydd Myfyriol’, ‘Sgiliau Adeiladu Pwnc Benodol’, a ‘Cyflawni Llwyddiant’ – gyda’r ffocws bob amser ar paratoi dysgwyr ar gyfer llwyddiant.
Cam 4 – y dyfodol. Mae cam olaf y rhaglen yn gweld trosglwyddo’r gwaith i gydweithwyr o fewn y sefydliadau sy’n cymryd rhan. Mae’r cyfnodau cynharach wedi dangos effaith gadarnhaol partneriaeth effeithiol yn glir ac felly mae hyn yn ffurfio sail y strategaeth yn y dyfodol. Er mwyn cyflawni’r etifeddiaeth gynaliadwy hwn, hwylusodd Lisa Harris (Cadeirydd Rhwydwaith SHC NTfW) a Tori Edwards (Is-gadeirydd ColegauCymru cyfatebol) cyfarfod tasglu o hyfforddwyr ar 10 Tachwedd 2016 i drafod yr heriau a chytuno ar ffyrdd i symud ymlaen.

Fel yng Nghyfnod 2, bydd y ffocws ar gynnal a datblygu dysgu safon uchel ar gyfer pob dysgwr i’w cefnogi i lwyddo. Unwaith y bydd yn weithredol, bydd y tîm hwn yn hwyluso digwyddiadau yng Ngogledd a De Cymru cyn dilyn i fyny â datblygiadau yn eu sefydliad neu gonsortiwm eu hunain – felly’n sicrhau y bydd staff newydd a staff presennol yn parhau i gael budd o etifeddiaeth y prosiect.

 

Posted in Skills | Leave a comment