Skills for Employability
Northern Regional College continues to led or participate in a range of wider international projects aimed at building capacity in our modernisation and internationalisation agenda. Funded through the British Council Skills and Employability programme staff, students and local employers test ideas through the cooperation and exchange of good practice leading to the development, transfer and implementation of innovative practices at organisational, local, regional, national or international levels.
International Skills Partnerships (Foundation) – Sekhukhune TVET College
The project focuses on the Construction sector and seeks to enhance the student/apprentice experience by providing exploring skills development in both countries In the UK and SA students/apprentices have the opportunity to participate in skills competitions (local, regional, national and international) While there are many participants at local level as the competitions progress opportunities get fewer and very few, if any get international experience Through this ISP we seek to achieve two outcomes:
- Benchmark the local Carpentry and Joinery skills competitions between SC and Northern Regional College
- Provide opportunities for students/apprentices to compete internationally at local level
Employability skills will be enhanced as students/apprentices also develop communication, teambuilding, problem solving, critical thinking and learning to learn. Lecturing staff will benefit personally and professionally through their exposure to their subject within an international context.
International Skills Partnerships (Advanced) – Vuselela and Taletso TVET Colleges
The aim of the ISP Advanced project is to ‘Strengthen our international partnership enhancing the student experience by providing additional opportunities to enhance working practices in the Northern Ireland, UK and the North West Province of South Africa.’
The stated objectives are to:
- Develop a shared approach to problem based learning
- Increase the appreciation amongst staff and students of the international context for the world of work
- Raise the level of student shared learning
- Enhance student employability skills
- Increase the personal and professional development of staff working in an international context
- Provide a means for sustaining the international partnership beyond the project lifecycle
Building on the Foundation project staff from the UK (Northern Regional College) and SA (VC and TC) participating in NQF Level 3 Tourism assignments will seek to partner with Business staff to develop new combined student case-study assignments. Twelve local businesses in a stakeholder role will provide real-world challenges working practices.
Outputs will include new/improved work-based-assignments (two per college) designed to develop the skills required to meet the international needs of employers. The overall impact will be to move the curriculum in Tourism and Business from theoretical bias to skills development bias.
Leadership Exchange Programme Vuselela TVET college
A strategic element of the ISP between Northern Regional College and Vuselela College was to develop our understanding the wider management context, for facilitating an international partnership, and one that actively sought to foster internationalisation as part of an overall International Strategy. For the purposes of our ISP project we referred to the wider management system as the ‘International Partnership Ecosystem’.
At the outset of the ISP project both college partners held the view that an International Partnership Ecosystem should contain seven elements (Strategic Intent, Management and Co-ordination, Recruitment of Participants, Delivery Methods, Programme Content, Programme Enrichment and Celebrating Success). The extent to which these elements are fully embedded at curriculum level will give an indication of the college’s commitment to international partnerships.
The first two elements are critical leadership roles and their development is the focus for this Leadership Exchange Programme. In particular through the ISP both colleges identified weaknesses in these areas and seek to develop an International Strategy – articulating the vision and direction for increasing international activity amongst staff and students and develop key international job roles/descriptions as follows:
- International Champion (support role to develop and implement the International Strategy)
- International Co-ordinators (Heads of Department/School with specific role in developing and implementing policy and operational plans)
- International Project Leaders (lecturers with a specific role in leading international projects)