Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Further Memorandum from Association of Colleges

  You may recall that when the Association appeared before the Employment Sub-committee on 13 December to give oral evidence in connection with the above inquiry, my colleague Ruth Silver (Principal of Lewisham College) described an approach which the college had developed as part of the New Deal FTET programme which sought to link the training provided to identified jobs in local companies. The Sub-committee asked for further information about the scheme and about any similar programmes operating elsewhere in FE colleges.

  I regret to say that I have been unable to locate any other initiatives of this kind within the FE sector. I am however enclosing a fuller note about the Lewisham scheme, prepared by the college, which I hope the Sub-committee will find helpful.


  Lewisham College has been piloting a new approach to training for work. This new approach uses job descriptions for entry-level administration posts to create training programmes to prepare suitable clients for work. The job descriptions are current and have been obtained from large city firms. The pilot programmes have shown that starting with the employers` needs and working backwards through course design and delivery to the prospective employee is effective.

  The programme is holistic in its approach and produces a work-ready client that understands the needs of employers and can confidently interview for available vacancies.


  The aim of the City-Bound programme is to equip clients with the hard, soft and basic skills required to secure jobs currently available with large organisations in London.

  These firms offer excellent rates of pay at entry level, outstanding conditions, benefits and career prospects.

  The programme lasts a total of 16 weeks and runs from 9:00am-5:00pm, five days per week. Six to eight weeks of the programme will be a pre-employment placement (see below for details).

Initial Assessment

  In order to gain a place on the programme clients must be either New Deal 18-24 or New Deal 25+. Clients must also sit the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). This is an American test that measures the client`s ability in the following areas: English vocabulary, English comprehension, Mathematics computation and Mathematics concepts and applications. The assessment is not only used as a selection tool, but also to ensure that the programme can deliver the skills requirements of both the clients and the employers.


  The client will be given intensive training in the current business use of the Microsoft Office Software Packages Word 97, Exel, PowerPoint and Access and spoken and written business English. The client will also undergo a personal development programme that will motivate and inspire, whilst improving communication skills, developing confidence and preparing the client for interview.

Pre-employment work-placement

  The clients attend a pre-employment work-placement, which will give them the opportunity to put skills learned on the course into practice as well as testing their general attitude to work. Can the client work as part of a team? How do the clients respond to being supervised? Are they punctual? How do they deal with internal and external customers?

  The pre-employment placement will be with one of the college`s public sector partners, for example the Local Authority or Community Health Trust.

  The manager or supervisor is asked to give a rigorous assessment of the client`s attitude to work and performance whilst on placement. Time spent on the placement is currently unpaid.


  If all elements of the programme are successfully completed, the client`s Curriculum Vitae (CV) and covering letter will be sent to an appropriate employer. Currently this could be KPMG or Deloitte & Touche. The employer reviews all the CVs and covering letters received and from these decides which clients they wish to interview. Following the interview the employer will decide to whom they wish to offer an internship.

  The internship covers a period of employment that lasts 16 weeks. During this period the client is employed by the college and the college charges the employer an agency fee. At the end of the 16-week peroid the employer will decide if they wish to offer the intern a permanent position.

Programme coach/mentor

  Clients have access to a coaching/mentoring service whilst they are on the programme. Clients can use this service to discuss any aspect of the programme or any personal issues or concerns that they might have.

Additional support

  Each week additional support is available to clients to allow them to improve their use of business English or use of numbers.


  Progress is assessed throughout the programme and includes the volume and quality of the work that is produced, punctuality, attendance, attitude and dress.

  All clients will take the Q-WIZZ test. This is an American IT programme that assesses the client`s ability to use the Microsoft packages at basic, intermediate and advanced level. The results of this assessment are used for programme selection and employment placement purposes.

What happens if the client doesn`t reach the internship stage?

  If for any reason clients do not reach the internship stage they will be given the opportunity to apply for other vacancies, which the college has access to through its Virtual Personnel department and via a direct link with the Employment Service database. They will also be helped with their job search, production of a professionl CV and covering letter and have the opportunity to improve and practice their interview skills.

  One of the major objectives of this programme is to place every client into work.

Association of Colleges

January 2001


  Hard Skill Development

    —  Document formatting

    —  Document processing

    —  Amending text with written instructions

    —  Business letter layout

      —  Memos

      —  Invoices

    —  Directory/file management

    —  Electronic diary management

    —  Internet use

    —  Business use of excel

      —  Spreadsheet development

      —  Use of formulas

    —  PowerPoint

      —  Master-slides

      —  Use of sound and graphics

      —  Slide show

    —  Complete presentation production

    —  Access

      —  Database production and use

  Soft Skill Development

    —  An introduction to personal development

    —  Career mapping, management and development

    —  Communication skills

    —  Confidence building and self esteem

    —  Conflict management

    —  Presentation skills

    —  Team building

    —  Assertiveness skills

    —  Developing a CV and covering/supporting letter

    —  Time and project management

    —  Stress management

    —  Customer/client care

    —  Dress for success

      —  Interview/business dress

      —  Make up

      —  Hair

    —  Professional Interview skills training at Drake Beam Morin (DBM)

      —  Understanding and surviving in the corporate culture

      —  Office culture

      —  Understanding behavioural styles

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