Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Foundation Apprenticeships in Scotland

As part of Developing the Young Workforce in Scotland  Foundation Apprenticeships are rolling out across Scotland following a pilot phase , these will create many  more opportunities for young people in Schools to engage directly with employers and colleges.

 From August 2016 these new qualifications  "Foundation Apprenticeships" will be available in the following subjects and will be available in more schools in more parts of the country.

  • Children and Young People
  • Construction
  • Engineering (energy)
  • Engineering
  • Financial Services
  • Social Services and Healthcare
  • Business Services
  • Software Development
  • Hardware and System Support.

If you work in Education you will see a dignified scramble to get these programmes up and running and learners recruited over the next month or so and Foundation Apprenticeships will increasingly figure in the subject choices available in many schools from this year onward.

These courses will be the bridge between school , college and the workplace that really change the relationship between schools, colleges  and employers.

What are the benefits ? 

The programmes involve a not inconsiderable time either in College or in the workplace. This dependent on programme but could be 2 days per week. So this is not a taster it is the real thing. 
The programmes are designed to both have a knowledge component and a component too of the Vocational workbased delivered qualification that makes up part of the full modern apprenticeship. If positioned well  this will give young people a real head start into a career if they want this,  or at least an in-depth work experience combined with workplace recognised qualifications that they can use to gain casual labour and/or use as part of their College or UCAS application. 

What are the challenges :

They will only work for the learners if schools , colleges and employers work closely together. You can see they may need a customer relationship management system if they do not already have one. 

This is changing the relationship between schools and colleges ; a foundation apprenticeship is not a taster session of the College experience for those with low national qualification grades  as many previous school/college  programmes have been in the past. 
The programmes last two years 4th and 5th  or more likely 5th and 6th year,  given the academic demand of the Foundation Apprenticeships (SCQF6), the same as a higher - the target group of pupils is a different cohort from those who may have traditionally attended College within a school college partnership arrangement. For some Colleges this will involve linking with schools that have not traditonally sent learners to College and/or working with a new cohort of teachers and learners within schools they have worked with in the past. 

The 'Foundation' is in many frameworks the core components of the full apprenticeship and this could be hard to explain to teachers and to learners and their parents. 

There will be some learners who will  wish to take the 'Foundation' but perhaps do not have the necessary National passes to secure a place and may be disappointed not to secure a place on the Foundation programme. 

The progression routes between HNC/D are well chartered,  if not always fully recognised by all universities in Scotland,  the routes from SVQ into HND and Degree are less well mapped out and the system needs to improve recognition of SCQF credit and level here. 

Its the right thing to be doing - but it will be a challenging one for many in the system. Schools will need to be prepared to support learners continuing with nationals, higher and advanced highers while allowing learners time to complete their foundation apprenticeships. Colleges will use their networks to find the employers where the work-based learning component will take place and co-ordinate the reporting of the learners progress - to schools and to parents. 

Young people will enjoy the challenges and opportunities these programmes will bring and the range of progression routes.

Progression for some will be to complete their apprenticeship , for others it might be HNC/D at a College and for others who have completed a Foundation Apprenticeship along with the necessary highers their aim will be University. 

So before I get asked - what is a Foundation Apprenticeship ?  here is part of the answer. 

Acid test,  is that if I had someone who the school was keen to get to re-sit a couple of nationals in 5th year ( but not English or Maths )  and who had an interest in one of the areas above - then a Foundation Apprenticeship would be a good option. 

Friday, April 22, 2016


#OER16 Quick Overview and Some important links for Scottish FE

#OER16 Quick Overview and Some important links for Scottish FE

A quick overview of a superb two days thinking time.

  1. Open Educational Resources for those still wondering what #oer means.
  2. This conference has been going since the inaugural conference at the University of Cambridge in 2010 . It was a great privilege to be once again on the organising committee and chairing some of the sessions this year . This storify captures some of the sessions I attended . The event was supported by the great folks of alt.ac.uk/ co-chaired superbly by twitter.com/LornaMCampbell and twitter.com/HoneybHighton and attracted delegates from 29 different countries to two wonderfully sunny days in Edinburgh.
  3. I am prejudiced but I do think some of our most creative educators are interested in open education. I enjoyed the action-bound challenge and I made full use of the excellent and well organised on-line programme
  4. ActionBound would make a great platform for student induction sessions.
  5. @Catherinecronin did a great job of unpacking the issues around open learning and the digital identity dilemma to being open .
  6. All of the sessions I attended inspired me and showed way forward for all of us in rethnking what education could be . Many of the sessions were recorded you can access them all on the conference web site oer16.oerconf.org There was something for everyone from policy makers to practitioners.
  7. I'll focus here on picking out a few sessions and links that I think further education should tune in to . Every session had something superb wrapped up in it so this is a tough task.
  8. In no particular order and for those teaching computer games development have a look at
  9. RAGE hoping colleges and universities teaching programming or games development tuned in to this #oer16 @EU_H2020  http://rageproject.eu/ 
  10. All of the sessions from Wikimedia offered something for Colleges and adult learners - I can't do them all justice in a post . But Colleges should be using Wikimedia tools not just as reference materials but as active learning tools. Learners should be authoring content for all of the wikimedia platforms
  11. If you haven't discovered DS106 and you teach anything creative then have look - that primary learners all around the world are now doing some of the assigments should tell you something startling.
  12. @jimgroom #oer16  http://ds106.us/open-course/  open course aimed at HE and lots of primary kids do the open assignments .. Tells you something
  13. I am assured that all of the BBC RES and other re-sources will be available to Scottish Schools through GLOW I hope similar thought has gone into how Colleges will access these probably through JISC services
  14. The research and education space (RES) | RIchard Leeming BBC great session on new resources for learning #oer16  https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/research-education-space 
  15. I saw a whole new academic discipline open up as David Kernohan set out his thesis on Blogs as now being more accessible, authoritative, accessible and capable of citation than traditional research. All pointing to new ways of evaluating the impact of academic publishing.
  16. Evaluating blog corpus on open education nice work from @dkernohan  now on to semanometrics and citation metrics https://t.co/rI98Nt78jN
    Evaluating blog corpus on open education nice work from @dkernohan now on to semanometrics and citation metrics pic.twitter.com/rI98Nt78jN
  17. Dublin City University student success tool box - give Colleges a range of customiseable re-sources for induction and much more . Every College in Scotland needs access to this . Perhaps one for CDN to have a look at . Available for download from github
  18. These two superb characters - are driving global changes in Educational blogging and content creation SPLOT is just one of a range of tools they demoed splot.ca/about/ watch their session carefully I liked NSCloner which gives teachers any kind of Wordpress blog they want quickly and easily
  19. Check out too how American Community Colleges use OER across the curriculum
  20. And finally if you want a closer to home example check out Edinburgh University open.ed.ac.uk/ Every College should have its own modest ambitions in opening up learning . There are 210,000 learners no longer in Scottish FE . How are you reaching out into your communities and local businesses and offering real support.
  21. If you missed out - think about becoming a member of ALT and/or book your place or better submit a presentation idea to next year's conference
  22. And remember too to read and comment on the Scottish Open Education Declaration !

Monday, April 04, 2016

@A_L_T Scotland: Sharing Stories Enablers and Drivers for Learning Technology in Scottish Education

It is great news that this year's annual ALT gathering will be held at Dundee and Angus College.

The event will run on the 7th of June 2016 10am-4pm 

 The event is organised by the ALT Scotland Members Group

Bringing together Members from across Scotland and allowing an important interchange between those working across education to share current practice and their plans for the future. 

It has been an exciting year in terms of on-line developments in both the Further and Higher Education sectors and I am sure this will be reflected in the proceedings. 

The event is designed to bring together practitioners from across sectors to share experiences of current and emerging practices in encouraging engagement with learning technology, highlighting the key enablers and drivers. 

To help with the organising we’ve set up a Google form for proposals at 


Get your story in and come along and share it with learning technologists from across Scotland.