Many further education colleges are facing difficulties in maintaining and growing income in the face of unprecedented challenges for the sector. Working in partnership with Mindful Education helps colleges to overcome some of the most significant obstacles currently faced by the FE sector:
- Staffing shortages and the difficulty of recruiting tutors across professional qualifications
- The threat of distance learning and the ongoing impact on college revenue
- The need to meet employer and learner demand for hybrid apprenticeships
About Mindful Education
Mindful Education is an education technology company that specialises in blended learning, creating flexible courses and apprenticeships in accounting, management, law, business and human resources.Delivered in partnership with colleges, employers and training providers across the UK, Mindful Education’s innovative, media-rich courses are highly flexible, allowing learners to choose how, when and where they want to study.
Watch the video below to hear what colleges and employers say about working in partnership with Mindful Education
Staffing shortages and the difficulty recruiting tutors across professional qualifications
With a market size of more than £350m per year, professional apprenticeships in areas such as accounting, management, business, law and HR are an essential part of college provision. These professional skills are needed across all industries and regions of the UK, so they should form part of every college’s skills agenda.
At the same time, colleges face increasing challenges to recruit and retain staff to deliver professional qualifications. The AoC report, ‘College Staffing Challenges in 2022’, highlighted that there were 6,000+ total job vacancies in England’s colleges – the highest total in over twenty years.
Working in partnership with Mindful Education makes delivering professional qualifications easier for colleges. Our Online and On Campus blended learning model frees up staff time, enabling delivery teams to focus on the areas where they can make the most impact for learners.
Case Study: Westminster Adult Education Services (WAES) is an adult education college based in Central London. The service has traditionally focused on classroom-based learning, but has recently started to deliver blended learning courses to meet the demands of their students. They currently deliver AAT Level 2 and Level 3, using Mindful Education’s Online and On Campus delivery model.
Alison Muggridge, Assistant Principal Curriculum and Quality, said:
“Working with Mindful Education has been brilliant. We’ve found right from the offset they’ve been very open and flexible in the way that they approach things, they’ve provided a great deal of support for the tutors and the team when we first started onboarding. They’ve also helped out with some of our marketing as well in terms of branding the programmes, and outreach to get new learners on board.”
Samantha Carnegie, Accounting Tutor at WAES went on to say:
“The development and the support that I’ve had from Mindful Education exceeds all my expectations. Mindful are always there to support me, it’s online as well or I can request a face-to-face meeting. I’m having a wonderful time with it, it makes my life a lot easier!
Coming from where we used to have to build our own resources, have the lessons, get them ready, I would recommend the Online and On Campus approach because it gives the tutor and the learner an opportunity to develop and succeed.”
The threat of distance learning and the ongoing impact on college revenue
Further Education colleges lost £5m in revenue to distance learning providers (DLPs) for AAT courses alone between 2018-19 and 2020-21. There are many factors at play here, not least the marketing tactics of DLPs who offer low cost courses with attractive payment plans, plus the impact of improved online technology and 5G availability, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges can counter this threat by offering high-quality blended learning provision, with focused marketing messages around strong achievement rates, the value of being part of a class that meets regularly with a college tutor, and the funding support available to learners.
Mindful Education partners with colleges to deliver award-winning blended learning courses and apprenticeships, helping our college partners to market effectively and ensure the right learner is on the right course.
Alison explains that working with Mindful Education has allowed WAES to increase student numbers by offering an attractive, flexible solution to learners in the local community:
“Mindful Education has enabled us to grow our provision to meet learner demand, and what we’ve seen is, because we do now have a flexible option that allows people to gain qualifications whilst they’re working, we’ve seen a growth especially in our level 3 – we’ve seen a doubling in demand for that provision.
“All in all, we’ve found it a very easy organisation to get to work with, and our learners feed back that they’re really enjoying the platforms as well.”
The need to meet employer and learner demand for hybrid apprenticeships
It’s clear that hybrid working patterns are now here to stay, with an August 2022 BBC report finding that UK workers are going into the office for an average of just 1.5 days a week. As a result, an increasing number of employers are seeking hybrid apprenticeships and work-based training to match the needs of their workforce. As well as demanding flexibility, employers are looking for online solutions that are high-quality, engaging and accessible. Employers expect apprenticeship delivery to fit to their needs, making hybrid delivery essential rather than a “nice to have”. It is this market shift that colleges need to respond and adapt to – both to win and retain apprenticeship work.
Working in partnership with Mindful Education enables colleges to offer a high quality blended learning solution that is attractive to employers and apprentices.
Case Study: Ambitions Academies Trust is a large education provider, based on the south coast of England. They employ a number of apprentices across the organisation, and were seeking a flexible way to deliver training that suited the needs of their business, as well as their apprentices.
Using Strode College as their training provider, Ambitions Academies Trust is training accounting and finance staff through Mindful Education’s Online and On Campus accounting apprenticeships.
Emma Hart, Deputy HR Director at Ambitions Academies Trust, explains what led to her to choose Mindful Education’s Online and On Campus hybrid model:
“When I first looked at a package, I wanted an online platform that would enable apprentices to pick up and stop when they wanted to, and plenty of questions and answers that they could work through to test their knowledge.
“They’ve found the Mindful Education platform really useful. They have their core learning, and then they have additional material they can use to revise or practice to make sure they’re progressing. They also appreciate having that touchpoint with Strode College, where they do some face-to-face learning with a tutor, so they have a good mixture of both.”
Micha, an accounting apprentice at Ambitions Academies Trust, goes on to say:
“Having the Online and On Campus approach for my apprenticeship has been perfect for me. Doing an apprenticeship as an adult, having a family and a full time job, is quite difficult to manage. Having the flexibility to incorporate the study within my working week is absolutely fantastic.”
Suzie Drew, Business Development Manager at Strode College, explains why employers are increasingly seeking hybrid delivery to train staff:
“Employers like the Online and On Campus blended approach to teaching as it gives a lot more flexibility to their staff. The flexibility of Mindful Education is second to none.
Emma went on to say:
“It enables us, within the work environment, to schedule when key things have to be done, and how work is managed, to make sure that deadlines are still met, while the allocation of time to study is still guaranteed for the individual. We’ve also used it to upskill our workforce which is really where the big wins are for us as an organisation.
“The blended option will always be the preferred option. It offers flexibility to all parties involved, and we’d look to be doing that with the majority of apprentices going forward.”
Working in Partnership
For more information about how working in partnership with Mindful Education can help your college meet the changing demands of part-time adult learners and employers by adopting a blended delivery model, contact Mindful Education: firstname.lastname@example.org