Digital Community of Practice

An ETF funded OTLA Digital project

Project Lead:  Peter McKenna

May 2018

About South Tyneside

Hello and welcome to our first project digital newsletter.

South Tyneside is a great place! We have so much to offer, including a rich cultural heritage, spectacular scenery and a strong community spirit.

We have an excellent skills base for sectors including Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing, Business Process Outsourcing, Port and Logistics, Low Carbon Energy and Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles, Construction, Leisure and Retail, Culture and Tourism and Health and Social Care.

The education and training offer aims to cater for the current and emerging skills requirements. Online learning will be an important strand of this.

About the project

There are a great number of small but perfectly formed training providers operating in South Tyneside who perform a great service for South Tyneside residents. However, it's often difficult to keep up with the latest trends. This is why we aim to share ideas, develop skills and the capabilities of staff and students in our Digital community of Practice. For more information you can watch a short Digital Community of Practice video by clicking the beach link.

You can now find out more about the participating training providers and their respective projects.

Community First North East

Promoting and embedding English and maths

Community First North East (CFNE) is a Community Interest Company. Working within the community and with business organisations, it deliver a range of training programmes, many of which are designed and written to meet diverse needs.

CFNE plans to develop digital approaches that will more effectively promote and embed the delivery of English and maths in the vocational curriculum.

Developing links with employers

AutismAble offers a range of individualised learning programmes to students with learning difficulties, offering both full time and part time courses at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2.

Courses can be made up of one or more of the following sector subjects:

Vocational Studies, Work based learning, Child and Social Care, Business Studies, Customer Services, Gardening, Catering, Art, Photography, Music, Games Design and FilmMaking.

Business enterprise is provided for any individual who have ideas for viable micro-business projects and self-employment. Current projects we support include an ICT repair business, a coffee shop and film making business.

Employment can often seem a distant prospect for learners with autism. This project aims to create links with employers by:

  • Bringing the workplace into the classroom through digital media;
  • Creating an online group where providers can advertise jobs to all learners;
  • Working with the Careers Advice Service and other local employers to create an innovative digital platform which all providers can access and use within their lessons
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Online learning

Sunderland Home Care provides training for employed and unemployed adults who seek work in the adult care sector. It aims to provide online and blended learning programmes to enable busy people to access training flexibly around their lifestyle patterns.

Online resources, including video, research documents and links to professional websites and articles for legislation and guidance enable all learners to be stretched and challenged.

Sunderland Home Care will pilot the use of Google Classroom as its contribution to the project.

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Providing stretch and challenge

TDR is a prime contractor of apprenticeships and is a good provider. To improve further, TDR is seeking to use technology to ensure that managers and training coordinators challenge and support the most-able learners to develop their English and mathematical skills to levels above those required for their apprenticeship qualification to enhance their future career prospects.

They plan to do this by developing an online presence so that they set and mark self-directed study activities that will stretch and challenge learners.

Bringing it all together

In essence, this is four projects in one. However, we will work together, sharing good practice and improving our individual and collective digital capability. We will share our findings with the wider training provider networks.
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Project Lead - Peter McKenna

Peter has spent 40 years of adult working life in education and training, with teaching experience spanning over 30 years. Having qualified to teach in 1980, he taught in secondary schools before spending 8 years as an army officer. Here, he taught soldiers and non-commissioned officers who were studying for promotion. 17 years in a further education college followed. Duties included teaching and managing a large and varied department. The last 10 years have been spent in local authority adult and community learning, in curriculum development and quality assurance roles.