For the second year running, Gower College Swansea's Bridge Programme (which aims to help learners who are at a high risk of becoming NEET) has been shortlisted for a TES FE Award – this time in the ‘Best Teaching and Learning Initiative’ category.
In 2014, a flexible taster programme was piloted which offered these learners an opportunity to remain in college and try a range of subjects as ‘tasters’. Now in its third year, the curriculum offer has grown to 12 tasters over 3 x 10 week blocks and learners can build up the qualification depending upon the number of units completed. From plumbing to catering, photography to multimedia, forensics to sport, learners have enough time to explore the subjects and make informed decisions about their future. With literacy and numeracy embedded into each subject, learners gain improved confidence and enjoy practical, hands-on activities.
Following the success of the pilot and feedback from focus groups, the learners now design and shape the programme. They have input on all aspects of the programme and their feedback has led to the introduction of an additional qualification which includes units such as managing money, living in a democracy, government, justice and diversity.
The impact on the learners has been phenomenal: we have built confidence where none existed; developed a willingness to learn; developed enterprise skills and environmental awareness and collaborated with our local HE provider to participate in community events - all of which has been totally inspirational.
“We are delighted to witness the benefits that this programme can bring: higher retention, attainment, successful completion and progression rates as well as contributing positively to local NEET statistics,” says coordinator Caryn Morgan. “We are enrolling all the time and now have four groups running this year, which is fantastic!”
The TES FE Awards will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 24 February.