College wins top award for quality careers advice

Wed 06 Aug 2014

Milton Keynes College has been recognised for providing careers and education advice of the highest quality by receipt of the government’s coveted Matrix accreditation.  The Matrix Award is backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is only given to schools, colleges and government departments providing the highest level of information, advice and guidance (IAG).

Not only does it mean that prospective and current students will be given the best possible counsel about what to study to help them achieve their career aspirations but it also paves the way for the College to bid for new contract work across the college and Offender Learning/Community Programme fields.

The industry-standard award is only confirmed following an intense accreditation process, two days of continuous interviews with around twenty-five staff and multiple student feedback sessions.  The Matrix Award is also backed by three external partners of the College - REED/NCFE, Milton Keynes Council and Babcock International - who are involved in the feedback and accreditation. 

The Matrix Award is the culmination of a year’s work for the College which radically overhauled its Admissions and Customer Services Department, Careers, Marketing, Learning Resource Centres, Support, Welfare and Learning Support Departments.  Also involved with the award was the College’s Community Programmes Team with the assessor meeting learners and visiting their Milton Keynes Job Club as part of the accreditation.

Faye Williams, Faculty Director for Student Services and Active Industries at the College, says, “I am delighted with the Award and this is recognition of the enormous strides we have made in making quality IAG the cornerstone of our delivery approach.  It puts student experience at the centre of all that we do and underpins our approach of putting students on the right course, first time, every time.”

Colleges are assessed for four key criteria, Leadership, Resources, Service Delivery and Continuous Quality Improvement and the award is managed by Independent company EMQC.

Research shows that impartial and accurate advice plays a crucial role in student success.  College Principal, Dr Julie Mills, says, “Students who understand the direction in which their courses are leading them – that is to say what work or further study a particular qualification will lead to – markedly outperform colleagues who are less clear about where they’re going.  In fact, the more aware group achieves results which are up to 16% higher.  On top of that, if a student is personally inspired by the specific content of a particular course it’s been shown they will also end up with better results.”

One student who has benefitted greatly from the guidance he has been given is nineteen year old, Jonathan Woollerton who studies Business and Sign Language at the College.  He says, “The information, advice and guidance I have received since studying at College has been excellent.  My tutors have been very supportive especially as I decided to transfer courses midway through the year from Computing and IT to Business.  A trial period was arranged and I was made to feel supported when picking up the new course and meeting my new classmates.  Alongside my studies I have also been learning Sign Language, something I would never have explored had it not been recommended to me.  I want to work in Marketing when I finish my course and for the past two years I have been volunteering with the College Marketing team.  This has given me some invaluable work experience which I hope will set me in good stead when I start looking for a job.”

The Award lasts for three years with yearly monitoring of action plans.

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