New test to transform study programme learners’ employability skills (advertorial)

A new baseline test is being launched by REED NCFE to transform how providers can boost their study programme learners’ employability skills.

Baseline Employability Skills Test (BESTest), developed in conjunction with the University of Leeds, measures key skills and personal qualities.

The idea is to help providers identify their learners’ strengths and weaknesses, and develop individually tailored personal learning plans to help improve their employment prospects.

And in trials with 1,000 learners, BESTest was shown to transform their self-awareness and motivation to learn.

Tom Millar, REED NCFE’s managing director, said: “By taking the time and effort to ensure that your learners understand the importance of the key employability skills, the only feedback you will have from employers will be along the lines of ‘Have you got any more learners like that?’ and ‘Can I take on one of your learners as an apprentice?’”

Each learner that takes the test receives an overall score indicating their work readiness.

They are also given a set of ten underlying scores that relate to the usual employability skills indicators.

Four of these relate to specific employability skills – CV, job search, interview technique and workplace behaviour.

A further six cover key personal qualities that can add to a learner’s employment prospects – motivation, professionalism, resilience, organisation, sociability and initiative.

Trials have shown BESTest to be an invaluable tool for providers, helping them to improve their employability skills provision – especially for the work preparation element of study programmes.

A REED NCFE spokesperson said: “It will become an invaluable asset to colleges seeking to differentiate and improve their employability skills provision and, in addition, it will provide reliable and objective evidence of distance travelled.”

Not only does it give reliable and objective evidence of the distance travelled by learners, he added, it can also help with curriculum planning and help provider to rate how their employment skills provision compares with others.

And BESTest can enable learners to show that they have the skills, attitudes and mindsets that employers look for when recruiting, while also giving providers the tools to measure and monitor their learners’ development.

The spokesperson added: “We passionately believe in helping learners and in the advantage you can give learners by enabling them to demonstrate that they possess the skills, attitudes and mindsets employers base their recruitment decisions on, while at the same time providing you with the tools to measure and monitor their development.”

During 2016-17 REED NCFE will be offering a free trial of BESTest assessments for use with study programme learners.

Any additional licenses in 2016-17 cost £2 per learner, inclusive of VAT.

You can download a pre-recorded webinar in which Mr Millar demonstrates the test, the results that the learner sees, the results that the College see and how to use it to:

  • design individualised learning plans based on each person’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • accurately track and evidence distance travelled; provide further evidence of achievement;
  • inform curriculum planning; and
  • benchmark scores both across your entire College cohort and nationally.

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