Working in partnership to promote investment in skills and access to post-16 education

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Pembrokeshire College has developed partnerships that support the development of skills in Pembrokeshire, improve learners access to post-16 education and engage with hard-to-reach groups.

Number of learners: 1,800
Date of inspection: January 2017

Brief contextual information about provider/partnership

Pembrokeshire College is the county’s largest provider of post-16 education and training.  With its main site at Haverfordwest, the college has approximately 1,800 full-time and 12,500 part-time students including vocational, A levels, apprenticeships and degrees routes. 

Health and Engineering are key curriculum areas for the college and this case study relates in part to the enhancement and extension of opportunities for learners who wish to study in these areas.

The college is to open a new A level centre in 2017 to accommodate pupils from the two schools in the north of the county.  The college and the Welsh Government jointly fund this new facility.

Context and background to excellent/sector-leading practice

Regionally, the college plays a significant role through the Swansea City Bay deal and through the emerging project focusing on the development of a marine energy centre on the Milford Haven waterway.  The college works closely with the Milford Haven Port Authority and Swansea University to ensure that opportunities to develop marine and sustainable energy generation are fully exploited.  More locally, the college has been a leading partner in the post-16 reorganisation in the north of the county, working with schools and the local authority to improve learners’ access to A level provision and improve learners’ breadth of choice of vocational courses.

Description of nature of strategy or activity identified as excellent/sector-leading practice

The principal and the senior leadership team have been effective in ensuring that the college is a leading member of partnerships promoting economic regeneration within Pembrokeshire.  Through their membership of a range of regional bodies, such as the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone Board and the newly-formed Regional Learning and Skills Partnership for South West and Mid Wales, the college is at the heart of the key decision making groups in relation to the development and investment in skills in the region. 

On a local basis, the principal and senior leadership team have worked closely with schools and the local authority to strengthen partnerships and communication in order to improve the choices available to young people in Pembrokeshire.  The principal has led the college’s work with the local authority director of education and the head teachers of Ysgol Dewi Sant and Ysgol Bro Gwaun, resulting in the development of a new centre for post-16 education.  A levels will be delivered in this centre, which has been financed jointly by the college and the Welsh Government.  The centre opened in the summer of 2017, overseen by an A level centre committee which contains representation from the school head teachers, the principal and the director of education, along with school governor representation and members of the college’s governing body.

The college works well with a wide range of community partners to engage hard-to-reach groups, such as Gypsy and Traveller communities, those at risk of dropping out of education and the economically inactive. The college works very effectively with the local special school to support the transition, integration and progression of learners on independent living skills programmes.

What impact has this work had on the quality of provision and learners’ standards?

Overall, the standards that learners achieve at the college are good. 

The college uses its links to its work-based learning partnership effectively to allow progression between further education and work-based learning programmes, or opportunities for employment.

A positive outcome of the holistic approach to partnership working has been the enhanced opportunities for groups of vulnerable learners. The excellent range of multi-agency partnerships support these more vulnerable learners very well during their programmes.