College leader calls for US-style approach to finding a career after study

Wed 20 Aug 2014

A leading education expert has called on Britain’s colleges to collaborate more with employers to give students a greater chance of finding a career that matches the course they have completed.
Nick Isles, Deputy Principal of Milton Keynes College in Buckinghamshire, says that matching students with careers not only provides businesses with more, relevantly qualified staff, but targets areas where there is economic growth and thus a demand for new employees.
He cites an education structure in Chicago, USA, as an example of how a greater understanding between colleges and employers can really work for the economy.
“I’ve recently returned from Chicago where they are developing a system called College to Careers,” says Nick. “It has already seen a tripling of the numbers of students finding employment on completing their courses.
“They have developed a curriculum specifically designed to match students with careers and to drive economic growth. It’s fascinating, and I think that perhaps we should be trying something similar here.”
To ensure areas of growth are targeted, Chicago has introduced a citywide system that monitors the labour market, ensuring that what is being taught at college has real value and relevance to students and employers. It’s something that Nick Isles believes could be adopted in the UK.
“I think an education model based on collaboration and coordination could be very effective,” he says. “Let’s stop searching to find ways of improving the courses we already have, and concentrate more on finding out exactly what forms of training our economy needs.”

Nick Isles is Deputy Principal, Milton Keynes College, Milton Keynes, and regularly writes a blog on the College’s website:

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