Chesterfield college

College to support employers following extension to the apprenticeship incentive scheme

Principal and Chief Executive of The Chesterfield College Group, Julie Richards, has welcomed the news that the Government plans to extend the apprenticeship incentive and Kickstart schemes.

Following Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week, she has pledged to continue to help and support employers in the area who wish to take advantage of the incentives available before they end in 2022.

Since the incentive schemes were announced last year, as part of the Government’s Covid recovery plans, the college has supported over 300 employers to access bonus payments of up to £4,000 to recruit almost 400 apprentices.

Speaking about how the college was best placed to help more local employers take advantage of the incentives, Julie Richards said:

“Apprenticeships have always offered a fantastic opportunity to fill skills gaps and develop people. The bonus payment is designed to help employers feel more secure in their ability to cover the cost of recruiting an apprentice. Apprenticeships provide our young people with specific opportunities to develop their skills and secure meaningful employment which supports their financial independence and prepares them for adult life and a successful career.”

“As a local college we are committed to matching the needs of employers with the skills and talents of young people. I urge employers to contact the college to understand how the scheme may work for them. Our team are experts in supporting employers to develop a programme of skills development which will have long lasting benefits both for them and the local economy.”

The experienced team are helping organisations, large and small across Derbyshire and the East Midlands, to find the best candidates for their apprenticeship vacancies. They have a talent pool of students and applicants ready to find their next step in the world of work and are supporting businesses to navigate the recruitment process to secure their new apprentice.

Matt Cryans, Director at Crytec Ltd, a company based in Clay Cross, which sells machinery for construction, forestry and manual handling, told us about his experience of recruiting his first apprentice and making the most of the incentive scheme with the support of the college.

He said: “The scheme covers a decent proportion of an apprentice’s wages so it gives you confidence to recruit. The extra funding certainly helps you to make the move to grow the team when things feel a bit uncertain. The team at college made it easy to apply for the funding and supported me through the steps of taking on an apprentice.”

Find out more about the apprenticeship bonus scheme and the support available for Kickstart here

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

New music studios at Chesterfield College provide industry standard facilities

New studios at Chesterfield College are giving music production students and local musicians a professional space to practice and record, using industry standard equipment.

The studios are the latest addition to the college’s new music department. They are designed to allow students the opportunity to develop the technical and creative skills they need for their future careers. At the same time, they will also provide a useful resource for musicians in Chesterfield to use as a collaborative recording space in the evenings and at weekends.

The new facilities provide a perfect mix of practical and academic spaces for a combination of classroom based learning and hands on experience at music making and recording. They are made up of three elements. These include a traditional classroom space with a suite of macs for learning and editing, a control room including a mixing desk and analogue equipment, and a ‘live room’ which has been designed for traditional collaborative music making. The live room has features which are designed to reflect acoustics and help musicians perform better together.

After spending the first week of term using the new facilities, level 3 music students Josh Clark and Connor Cartledge told us about the difference it had made to them.

Josh who is a rapper, singer and songwriter, with an interest in production said: “I am very happy that I have the opportunity to come in to use an actual studio and work with my peers. The course gives us the chance to learn lots of different skills and practice on different equipment that I don’t have at home. I am excited to know how I can use it next. I am hoping to record my own EP using the facilities we have here. I am really looking forward to that.”

Connor, who wants to be a producer or sound engineer said: “It has made a massive difference now we have this equipment. When we leave college to pursue a career in music, whether as a producer or as a musician we will have the knowledge we need.  We have top of the range microphones and a full studio which will mean any assignments and projects we work on will sound a lot better. Last year we had to record on whatever we had because we couldn’t be in college, so it is going to make a lot of difference. We have got a lot to learn about how to run and work the studio, but it is good to have it ready for the start of the new college year.”

Music tutor and musician, Jonathon Salisbury said: “Having the music studio gives us a professional environment the students can walk into and use. You don’t necessarily need that level of equipment to make good music but if you learn how to use this kind of facility you can always scale back to whatever you need. It is fundamental for students to understand how a professional studio works and get used to that kind of environment. It will help them build up an amazing portfolio of recordings which will launch them onto whatever they choose to do after college.”

“The studio is designed with analogue equipment so it works best for traditional collaborative music making. You can put a whole band in one space. There is real magic that happens when you get musicians together in one room. All the old great bands worked that way. The students who have used it so far have been amazed that they are in this professional space making music with other people again. They are definitely inspired by the quality of what they can produce in the new facilities.”

One local band has already used the space to record parts of their album and the college plans to hire out the new music studios to more local bands and musicians. They are particularly keen to offer the space to those just starting out who are looking for a resource like this on their doorstep.

To find out more about hiring the music studios contact

To find out more about studying music at Chesterfield College visit

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Young Artist of the Year competition launches to celebrate the power of creativity

Chesterfield College is looking for Derbyshire’s young artists of the year to highlight the power of creativity.

They are calling for young people, between the age of 8 and 18, to enter their Young Artist of the Year competition by creating a painting, a collage, an illustration, photography or a sculpture on the theme of ‘The power of creativity’.

This year, the theme for the competition ties in with the Creativity Pays campaign, which promotes the importance and influence of the creative industries locally. The competition is part of the campaign which celebrates local talent and the impact of creativity on our communities, our wellbeing and our economy. The creative industries sector was growing faster than any other sector pre-pandemic and the sector will undoubtedly generate many jobs for the future.

James Marples, Brand and Campaigns Manager at Chesterfield College said: “The Young Artist of the Year competition has been extremely popular over the last 5 years so we know there are many talented young artists out there who love being creative.

“It is vital we encourage young people to develop creative skills and demonstrate routes into creative careers. This competition gives us a chance to shine a light on the talents of the next generation of people who will be part of the creative industries of the future. I am looking forward to seeing the entries come in and showcasing their work to the public.”

The finalists’ artwork will be exhibited as part of a celebration of creativity in West Studios, Chesterfield College’s creative hub and exhibition space. The young artists will be invited to a special ceremony where the winners across different categories and age groups will be announced and presented with prizes.Chesterfield College is looking for Derbyshire’s young artists of the year to highlight the power of creativity.

Last year the Young Artist of the Year exhibition took place virtually when galleries and museums were forced to close to the public. Winners of the competition included Stephanie Wells and Molly White for their depictions of ‘What the Pandemic meant to me’.

The closing date for the competition is 12 July 2021. More details about how to enter, including terms and conditions of the competition can be found here

For more information about the Creativity Pays campaign visit

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Music students at Chesterfield College boost their skills thanks to partnership with local venue

Music students from Chesterfield College have been given a fantastic opportunity to develop a range of skills to boost their industry knowledge and experiences.

Thanks to funding from DANCOP (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Outreach Programme), the college has been able to partner with Real Time Live, Chesterfield’s successful dedicated live music venue. The funding has allowed students to access additional lessons to play specific instruments and develop vocals, as well as to learn more about stagecraft and stage production.

Real Time Live has provided a performance space and expert music tuition. This has helped students to develop the skills they need to move on to further study at college and university, and to develop a career in the industry. After months of learning online, and not having the opportunity to get on stage due to national lockdowns, the partnership is perfectly timed.

Abbie Greenwood, Level 3 Music student from Chesterfield College said her vocal lessons have helped her to learn about different music styles. She told us why working at Real Time Live has been so important. She said:
“Getting the experience of playing in a real venue rather than in a classroom progresses your musical ability. Having the opportunity to get into a venue to practice on stage when everywhere else is closed is just great.”

Niki and Mark Stevenson, owners of Real Time Live, have spent the last 27 years developing and supporting musical talent in the town. They see the project with the college as an extension to their reach into the community. Not only does the venue host a wide variety of live music gigs and events, covering all genres from rock and blues to metal, ska, pop and retro nights, the Real Time Live team also teaches a variety of music lessons for aspiring performers. They told us why it is important for anyone with a passion for a career in music to develop the right skills.

Niki said: “It is really important for up and coming musicians and anyone who wants to work in the music industry to get practice in a venue like this. The demands of the industry mean if you want a career in it you need to be all things to all people. Musicians need to look like the people they are representing. They need stagecraft to be able to connect with the audience and the technical skills to do some of the sound engineering they need. The stage we have is a perfect place to develop that for students.”

Mark added: “For years we have offered music lessons to many people every week. We have made sure everyone is included no matter what their ability or reason for wanting to play. It has gone hand in hand with the different aspects of the business over the years. We have had to diversify the live venue side of what we do over the last 16 months but with funding from the Arts Council and the Recovery Fund we feel like we have been recognised for what we bring to the area. We like the place to be in use and to hear music being played. Being involved with the college goes hand in hand with that, and long may it continue.”

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

Partnership agreement will develop the next generation of construction experts

Construction company Robert Woodhead Limited (part of the Woodhead Group) and Chesterfield College have entered into an agreement to work together on a range of initiatives to help the next generation discover more about careers in construction and develop the skills they need.

The Learning Partnership Agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between the two organisations. It formalises the way they will work together in the future, building on the successful apprenticeship and work experience schemes they already have in place. It also introduces some new initiatives which will bring more work experience and training opportunities, taster days for school pupils and work around encouraging women into construction.

Janine Borderick, People Development Director at Robert Woodhead Ltd said:

“This agreement is really important to help us grow the talent we need for the future. This will help us to reach people outside of our apprenticeship programme. We want to share our experience of the industry with people and give them an introduction to the wide range of career paths that are available in construction. We want people to come and see what we do and, together with the college, we will be shouting about the opportunities there are to work in the industry.”

Aaron Wathall, is 4 months into his Level 3 Built Environment Technical apprenticeship with Robert Woodhead Ltd. During his day of study at the college he witnessed the signing of the agreement. He explained how the company are helping him to discover all the opportunities available in the construction industry and shape his career. He said:

“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship. It is really diverse. I am learning about different aspects of construction, meeting people from across the company and gaining a lot more confidence. I have had support from everyone from IT to Site Managers. They have showed me new things and been really patient. Someone is always there to answer my questions.”

Terry Brickles, Curriculum Operations Manager for Construction said:

“Robert Woodhead Ltd have always valued the education and training we offer to provide them with a skilled workforce. They know that by working alongside us to support school and college students we will be able to pool resources to encourage the next generation into construction. I am excited about the initiatives we have planned and I look forward to helping more construction experts of the future develop the skills they need to be successful.”

Chesterfield College and Woodhead Group support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , , ,

Britcon welcomes construction students to One Waterside Place site

Chesterfield Waterside, Chesterfield Borough Council and Britcon (UK) Ltd have begun an eight-week activity partnership with Chesterfield College by welcoming its Level 3 Construction Management students on site.

The visit was held at One Waterside Place, the seven-storey Grade A office block currently under construction in the Basin Square neighbourhood of the Chesterfield Waterside development.

As part of the site visit students were given an insight in to the whole build process, focusing on safety, cost, quality and time.

Britcon (UK) is the lead contractor on One Waterside Place. Nick Shepherd, Managing Director of Britcon (UK) Ltd and a former Chesterfield College construction student himself, said: “It was great to engage with a group of enthusiastic individuals and share some of our expertise with them on their journey within the construction industry. We are passionate about giving back to the community and this visit marks the first of an eight-week activity partnership that we have arranged with the college.”

Terry Brickles, Curriculum Operations Manager for Construction at Chesterfield College said: “Our goal is to ensure students leave us well prepared for the world of work and for a positive future. Working with Britcon has helped us to give our students a fantastic opportunity to get a greater understanding of how the skills they have been developing in college fit into a construction project like Chesterfield Waterside.

“It is vital to develop construction students’ first-hand experience, knowledge, understanding and practical experience of life on a building site. Not only does it give them an opportunity to use the practical skills they have learnt in a classroom in a real environment, it develops other skills which help to make them good employees for the industry too.”

Ahead of COVID restrictions easing, last year a camera was installed on the roof of Chesterfield College to record the entire build process of One Waterside Place.  As part of the partnership between the College, Chesterfield Borough Council, Britcon and Chesterfield Waterside, the footage has been shared with students throughout lockdown as part of their virtual learning studies.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Gaining industry experience is vital to helping ensure young people can meet their full potential and setting up the camera so they could do this digitally allows them to gain this experience remotely. It’s fantastic that Britcon and Waterside have made it possible for these students to visit the site. I hope this is the first of many visits because together with being able to access the camera footage, it really helps young people plan their future.”

Tom Swallow, Development Manager at Bolsterstone Group Plc, the company leading Chesterfield Waterside added: “I’m delighted that restrictions have eased sufficiently to enable us to welcome local schools and college students to site. Virtual learning has been very effective during lockdown but to be able to get onto site and see a project taking shape on the ground can be really inspiring.”The seven-storey office block is the first phase of the Basin Square character area within the £340 million Chesterfield Waterside regeneration scheme and is being developed for Chesterfield Borough Council. Last month BHP Accountants in Chesterfield announced that it is to take a floor in the new office block and relocate its office on Saltergate in the town centre to Basin Square.

Construction of One Waterside Place is expected to be completed later this year. As part of the contract with Chesterfield Borough Council, Britcon is utilising local labour and local contractors across the whole build process as well as working closely with the college. This ensures that the construction phase of the project not only helps develop skills it also provides an economic benefit to the local economy which will help support recovery from the pandemic.

Keep up-to-date with the latest developments at Chesterfield Waterside here, or follow the development on Facebook and Twitter.

Chesterfield College and Chesterfield Waterside support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield College asks creative businesses to join their campaign to highlight how Creativity Pays

Chesterfield College is calling for creative businesses across Derbyshire to join their campaign to highlight how crucial creative skills are for the economy, our communities and our wellbeing.

The campaign, Creativity Pays, will showcase creative businesses and careers as well as connect the community to support local makers and creatives. It also aims to encourage people to develop the skills the creative industries sector in our region need for the future.

Pre-pandemic the creative industries sector in the UK was enjoying a boom and growing faster than any other sector. Jobs were growing at 2.7 times the national average, and the sector contributed £13.2m/hour to the economy (source: DCMS 2019).

Importantly, designers, filmmakers, actors, photographers, journalists, publishers, musicians have all played a role in supporting us through the challenges we have faced as a society during the pandemic. Whether that is through bringing us news, crucial information or keeping us entertained as we stayed at home.

Over the last year, the creative industries sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, there are many who believe this sector will form a crucial part of our recovery and will help us build back for the future.

Julie Richards, Principal and CEO of The Chesterfield College Group said: “This initiative provides us with a unique opportunity to highlight how important creative industries are for our region. As a college with a strong history in developing creative skills and supporting creative businesses, we are at the forefront of developing the skills required for a career in the sector. This campaign provides us with the opportunity to celebrate creative careers, the success of our students and the creative businesses in Derbyshire who are so important for our local economy which in turn will encourage others to develop their creative skills.”

Talking about why he feels Creativity Pays, former Chesterfield College art student and successful artist Peter Barber said: “I have built my career doing something I love over the last 25 years since leaving college. I have worked in the community and now I am a commercial artist. I believe creative careers are so important. When you look at almost anything there is in the world around you, it literally started life with someone with a pencil. We are lucky enough in Britain that creative industries are strong and people want to create and work here. My work in advertising had a bit of a resurgence after the last lockdown and I think we will see that happen again. We are in a good place for the future.”

The college is inviting people to get involved in the campaign in a number of ways including:
• Tell the story of how creativity pays for you on social media using #creativitypays
• Shout about the local creative businesses you love and add them to their Creativity Pays directory #creativederbyshire

Find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

Chesterfield College is shortlisted for a national award for a new teaching and learning initiative

Chesterfield College has been shortlisted for a Tes (Times Education Supplement) Further Education Award for Best Teaching and Learning initiative.

The college recently introduced a programme called ‘Aspire’ designed to complement and enhance teaching and learning. All students at college now take part in the programme, designed to develop happy, healthy, confident and capable students and apprentices. This impressed judges and earned the college a place on the shortlist alongside other further education providers across the country.

The Aspire programme, which started before the pandemic, has been developed over the last year. It has already had a huge impact on learners. Attendance, retention and achievement rates have significantly improved. The quality of student work has also improved. For example, there was a 56% increase from merit to distinction in hairdressing, and a 25% increase from merit to distinction for beauty students.

The programme works by:

  • Enabling students to feel hopeful and optimistic about their future. It helps to identify their purpose, develop their voice, influence and place in society so they reach their full potential.
  • Providing a holistic wrap around service that effectively prepares students for destinations that meet their needs and interests. This enables them to thrive, flourish and succeed in their future lives and careers.
  • Enabling students to learn well, progress and succeed in all aspects of their development. This includes their personal, social, educational and employability skills, physical and mental health and wellbeing, and their ability to stay safe.

Jackie Rossa, executive director for quality improvement and assurance said: “The impact of the Aspire programme is profound. By developing skills as part of the programme, students have made better progress in their vocational areas. It has enabled us to realise our ambition for our students and apprentices. We look forward to building on this success. I am delighted we have been shortlisted for this award and I am very proud of the way students and staff have embraced Aspire over the last year. ”

Tes head of FE Julia Belgutay said: “Further education providers have excelled in what has been a truly challenging year, and the amazing individuals, teams and institutions on our Tes FE Awards shortlist showcase that. Our judges were highly impressed with the calibre of entries and I want to congratulate everyone who has made the shortlist – it is a brilliant achievement.”

Winners of the Tes awards will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on 28 May.

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield businesses urged to take advantage of government apprenticeship bonus scheme

Pinewood Property Estates Ltd and Chesterfield College are urging Derbyshire businesses to make the most of the government’s apprenticeship bonus scheme which launched earlier this month.

The scheme offers employers up to £4,000 for every apprentice recruited. It is designed to help businesses grow their team and provide opportunities for people to develop the skills they need to boost their careers.

Stacey Davies-Bowler, managing director at Pinewood Property Estates Ltd in Chesterfield, is a great advocate for apprenticeships. He is keen to highlight what benefits they bring, particularly with the availability of the apprenticeship incentive payment.

Stacey started his career as an apprentice and has helped many others to do the same.  As part of recent expansion plans, the business was keen to recruit a new apprentice along with other senior members of staff. They worked with Chesterfield College to explore the options open to them to find the perfect apprentice candidate. The apprenticeship bonus scheme was an added benefit for the organisation when they recruited Alberta, a Customer Service apprentice.

Stacey is keen to share his experiences as an employer of apprentices to encourage other small businesses to make the most of what the incentive scheme offers. He said:

“Without young people coming through, any industry gets stagnant. If companies are not giving young people a chance and supporting them to learn, they are going to find a huge void in their workforce and the skills they need. We have had great success with apprentices over the years and it is good to see young people develop in the organisation.

“In our business, an apprentice is not cheap labour. We have to invest a lot of time and effort into developing apprentices but we know we get a payback in the long term. We get someone who understands our business and our industry who then goes on to contribute to making a profit.

“The incentive scheme gives businesses who might be new to the apprenticeship process of developing their team a good opportunity to try it out. The bonus payment could potentially cover a third of an apprentice’s annual salary. For a small business this could offer a perfect way to give a young person a start to their career and develop an apprentice to become a valued member of their team.”

Leah Shortt, Apprentice Recruitment Manager at Chesterfield College said:

“We have been supporting local business like Pinewood Property Estates to grow their team through apprenticeships for many years. Now the new incentive scheme is available, we hope it will encourage more employers to explore how apprentices could benefit them.  We are here to help employers navigate their way through the apprenticeship landscape and access the incentive payments before the deadline. Our team of apprenticeship experts is on hand to help employers find the right apprenticeship programme, and the right candidate. Ultimately, this will support them to develop their future workforce and fill those critical skills gaps now and in the future.”

Find out more at or call 0345 850 1055.

Pinewood Properties and Chesterfield College support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield College becomes the first to sign up to Autotech Academy

Chesterfield College has become the first college to officially sign up to Autotech Academy – the innovative internship program launched by Autotech Group earlier this year.

In a move designed to give newly qualified students the best chance of employment after their studies, Chesterfield College has partnered with Autotech Academy. The partnership will help talented students with the skills the industry needs to get their foot on the automotive career ladder through a paid internship.

Acting as a conduit between Chesterfield College and automotive employers, Autotech Academy will source internship opportunities for students, equip them with their first toolbox and uniform, and provide ongoing support and training over a period of 3-12 months until they make the transition into full-time employment. Every intern will also be trained to Level 3 IMI Electric Vehicle accreditation.

With an intake of around 100 students per year into its successful automotive faculty, Chesterfield College teaches a range of light and heavy vehicle courses, while its body and paint courses are established as some of the best in the UK. With tutors deriving from the automotive industry, and a finger on the pulse of the most up-to-date skills, the college recognises the benefits forging an alliance with Autotech Academy will yield.

“We are passionate about our learners and giving them the best opportunities we can to gain employment,” comments Paul Sewell, Curriculum Operations Manager- Automotive & Body Paint at Chesterfield College. “I feel that the Autotech Academy internship programme is a fantastic way to bring employers and our learners together.”

Capitalising on its excellent reputation with automotive employers and colleges, Autotech Group launched Autotech Academy as a route to fill the automotive skills funnel, while helping time-poor, independent garages, dealer groups and vehicle manufacturers recruit newly skilled technicians.

“We are delighted that Chesterfield College has partnered with Autotech Academy,” comments Dave Walker, National Careers Manager for Autotech Academy. “The college has a fantastic, award-winning automotive division which has been recognised time and again, including winning gold awards at Skill Auto. Through our allegiance, we will work to enhance the employment opportunities of their students, ensuring that the skills taught at Chesterfield remain within the automotive industry.”

Despite the best efforts of UK colleges, around 10,000 students are lost to other industries each year as they struggle to secure an automotive role. While armed with theoretical knowledge, they have limited practical experience which deters some employers. Autotech Academy is set to smooth these recruitment bottlenecks, and create a cohort of skilled, experienced vehicle technicians which will help sustain the future of the industry.

For more information visit

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield College gives graduates an insight into a teaching career in further education

Keen to play a role in developing the next generation of talent into further education, Chesterfield College has welcomed a new cohort of eager graduates and undergraduates into the organisation to give them a unique insight into a teaching career as part of the Education and Training Foundation’s programme, Talent to Teach. This is the second year the college has been part of the programme and they are already seeing many positive benefits.

The Talent to Teach programme was mentioned in the recent Skills for Jobs white paper, published by the government, as one important initiative which will be developed to help tackle the growing recruitment problem in the further education sector. The document highlights that half of principals in the UK say recruitment is difficult, so the need to act now is vitally important.

Becoming a provider of Talent to Teach programme was an opportunity for Chesterfield College to nurture talent and build a workforce for the sector. Equally, the team were keen to share their passion for role they play in their community, and the difference they make to their students and apprentices.

Jo Kershaw, Director of Business Professional and Service Industries, who manages the Talent to Teach programme at Chesterfield College said:

“Like many other colleges up and down the country, Chesterfield College wants to attract the very best talent to pass on their knowledge and expertise to students and apprentices. The Talent to Teach programme gives us the chance to highlight the benefits of a career in further education. It also helps graduates to understand that their knowledge and skills are in demand in the sector.

“For too long further education has been overlooked by many who might have a desire to teach. It has been fascinating to see the participants on this programme discover the possibilities open to them in colleges and we have seen our staff develop their mentoring skills too.”

During the programme the participants work alongside, and are mentored by, college staff as they take part in a range of activities to give them an insight into the breadth and scope of teaching in further education. They also experience day to day life helping students to succeed.

After mandatory safeguarding training, the participants observe and take part in lessons as well as carry out a micro teach. They also attend ask the expert sessions to learn about a range of other topics from Ofsted to supporting students with special educational needs.

The first intake of students on the programme, who took part before the pandemic, worked in the classroom with groups of students. The new intake has been experiencing teaching online and working with college staff virtually.

The fact that the programme is now being delivered virtually has had hidden benefits, allowing participants from a larger geographical area to access it. This was important because the pandemic meant only a quarter of the colleges who normally take part in the programme were able to offer places this year. Chesterfield College were keen to continue and demonstrate how they had adapted teaching and learning over lockdown.

Feedback from the previous intake of students highlights that 100% of those who took part have a higher level of interest in a teaching career in further education following the programme. The value of taking a hands on approach during the scheme was a huge benefit to the participants who may have been witnessing the world of further education for the first time.

One politics and history graduate on the current Talent to Teach programme, Tyler Yves, commented: “I left school with a handful of GCSEs but studied in FE as a mature student on an access to HE course. I understand the motivations of adult learners who study in FE colleges. There has always been this preconception that you were born to teach but I think so much has changed and I think we need to see how we can transfer skills into teaching as a viable career option. I can see the day to day difference I could make in a young person’s life by being part of FE. After a few sessions on the programme, I already find myself googling PGCE information!”

Sanaa Khalifa, a second year economics student said: “There are so many jobs and careers out there and you don’t know what to do unless you experience it first-hand which is why I wanted to take part in Talent to Teach. Now I am doing it, I do see myself in a teaching career in FE as opposed to working in business. It really has changed my outlook.”

Raina Roberts, Project manager for Talent to Teach at Cognition Education, the organisation running the programme on behalf of the Education and Training Foundation, said:

“It has been an absolute delight having Chesterfield College as a provider with the Talent to Teach in FE programme. Jo Kershaw and the team at the college have been incredible to work with and have put a great deal of passion into delivering the programme. Our partner providers, including Chesterfield College, are passionate about helping us raise the profile of further education and support us in establishing a high-quality pipeline of entrants for the sector.”

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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