Developing Wider Skills and Interests

How to broaden students' interest and knowledge of key social and community challenges, preparing them for life within Modern Britain; whilst identifying methods to positively contribute to economic development, health & wellbeing and societal growth.

About the project

What is the project about?

My project adheres to Stand 2 which dictates that ‘it is essential that we invest in education, giving them the skills they need to progress.. the opportunity to upskill and reskill.. and [it is] also vital that we equip people to recover economically from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.’ The white paper continues, ‘adult participation in further education has decreased by over one million learners…; our new £2.5 billion National Skills Fund through which we will deliver key elements of the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, will begin to reverse this decline.’

I can justify the implementation of my project as it not only relates specifically to Strand 2 of providing student’s with the specific skills they need to ‘progress’, and the opportunity to upskill and reskill; it will also enable wider student enrichment, introduce or reintroduce students to positively engage in the local economy, develop their interests within societal challenges, whilst providing students with a tangible outcome as a result of their project, both in experience and within the presentation of their achievements on a digital scale that can be used as evidence, to support a very competitive job market within this current climate.

To justify this further, the project itself, will also link directly to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework and will meet all of the key judgements surrounding this, whereby Personal and Professional Development is judged specifically on the following statements;

  • the curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational. It provides for learners’ broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents
  • the curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence
  • at each stage of education, the provider prepares learners for future success in their next steps
  • the provider prepares learners for life in modern Britain by: equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society…’

Aims and desirable outcomes

Students will design and create a project centred on a topic they have learnt about within Professional Development (PD) sessions. They will design and implement this project and will produce a supporting e-portfolio to evidence their learning journey, whilst highlighting their personal and academic development as the project materialises.

The chosen project will contain specific links to PD topical areas, highlighting specific influence and provide clear links to evidence ‘the why behind wider development’. Equally this will ensure that students are able to create links between wider development and their chosen employment sector, as they will link the topic directly to this sector.
This project will not only support skill development, it will also allow students to develop their ability to present information, whilst allowing them creative license to project manage, stand out from the crowd and lead. All skills that students need to develop to become successful within industry.

The additional focus on personal and academic achievement within the e-portfolio, will support the formation of a well-structured Curriculum Vitae, whilst supporting key reflective practice throughout.

The e-portfolio creation will provide additional supportive evidence to gain access to next steps, provide learners with information about their underlying wider reasoning for wanting to join the sector, whilst demonstrating the ability to research effectively, problem solve and engage within societal challenges that differs from typical hobbies and interests found on many applications and CVs.

Students will then evidence the outcome of their project and how they have positively developed or increased their interests within the sector as a result.

Through implementation, student may also engage in wider community activity which will ultimately increase their professional experience within their chosen sector, support economic growth, Support students in developing the higher level skills that employers want or need and providing a positive platform for learners to ‘upskill or reskill’.

What is the project currently achieving?

Olly Walters on how the project is being measured

Students will complete a questionnaire prior to the project commencing to identify their chosen area of study, specific skills they perceive are strengths and/ or areas for professional development. This will gage student’s self-awareness and support quantitative data collection.

A secondary questionnaire, upon completion of the 10 week project, will gather further quantitative data and an insight into the personal student experience. The questionnaire will also assess the practicality of the project, re-assess the student’s perceived skill development and identify if they felt this would support their next steps moving forward.

Students will also record 10 minute reflective journals at the end of each session to reflect on the development stages of the project and evidence individual experiences. This short reflective practice may prove beneficial when reflecting upon the overall success of a project (even if the student’s ideal outcome has not been achieved). Students will also pitch their specific idea to the rest of the group which will be scored and feedback provided. This encourages the requirement for both personal and peer-to-peer feedback to support positive development. Students will further evidence this within a final reflection at week 11.

I will also assess other factors such as session attendance to identify if there is improved participation as a result of implementation of this overall project compared to prior PD curriculum delivery.

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