Press release

Qualifications alone will not ensure learners find work

'Promoting enterprise in college vocational courses' looks at 15 colleges who excel in teaching students enterprise-related skills.


Leaders of the colleges visited recognised the future success of their young people did not just depend on academic achievement, but also involved developing a range of essential enterprise-related skills.

Further education has a key role in stimulating economic growth and developing young people’s vocational and employability skills. This report found the most successful colleges create close links with businesses, employers and local community groups and embed enterprise related skills in the curriculum. These colleges also had highly skilled staff with excellent knowledge of the sector, who maintained strong links with their industry contacts, in turn enabling college managers to facilitate high quality and relevant work experience for learners.

The report is published on the same day as Ofsted and Business in the Community host a joint event in Westminster where key speakers including the Deputy Prime Minister and Alan Milburn former MP, are meeting to discuss social mobility. Ofsted’s evidence suggests employer engagement can make a significant contribution to improving the lives of young people and thereby improving social mobility.

National Director of Learning and Skills, Matthew Coffey said:

The ‘Promoting enterprise in college vocational courses’ report shares, in detail, how colleges can teach students the skills needed to be both entrepreneurial and employable. Qualifications alone are often not enough to ensure students are ready for the world of work.

‘Evidence clearly suggests local employer engagement can make a significant improvement to young people’s job prospects and thereby improve social mobility. Learners benefit when work-related learning, supported by employers, is an integral part of the curriculum.

National Director of Education at Business in the Community, Fiona Rawes, said:

This report reinforces what we know from the broad range of employers supporting over 30,000 young people through our ‘Business Class” programme; that close relationships between employers, teachers and students have proven impact on the entrepreneurialism and employability of young people. More employers across the UK must play their part to enable young people to gain a better understanding of, and access to, the world of work.

Lynne Sedgmore, Executive Director of 157 Group of FE Colleges said:

Colleges understand that students must be equipped with the skills that will make them successful in the modern working world. The excellent practice highlighted in this report demonstrates how colleges are already engaged with employers and with local business communities to make sure the economy can benefit from a well-trained workforce. We welcome the report’s views on how the vital relationships between colleges and employers can be further developed, which reflect the determination already being shown by colleges to be responsive to the needs of both learners and employers in the provision that they offer.

Ofsted makes a number of recommendations to government in the report including that colleges should collect, monitor and report on their students’ progress in relation to their employment and self-employment when they have completed their study. This ‘destination data’ would allow trends, access and success in the provision of enterprise training to be evaluated both locally and nationally.

‘Promoting enterprise in vocational courses for 16 to 19-year-old students in colleges’ is online.

Notes to editors

  1. The joint Business in the Community and Ofsted event is being held in a school in Westminster. Speakers discussing social mobility include, the Deputy Prime Minister, Baroness Sally Morgan, Chair of Ofsted, Alan Milburn, Government Advisor on Social Mobility, Katja Hall, Chief Policy director at CBI, Lynne Sedgmore, Executive Director of 157 Group, Rob Devey, Executive Director of Prudential, Dame Julia Cleverdon and Ian Greenaway, President of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce.

  2. Media can contact the BiTC Press Office by calling: (0)20 7566 8758.

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Published 21 November 2012