Pembrokeshire College is working with the energy and engineering sectors to deliver the highest quality education and training locally. Recently, it has invested heavily in building new facilities and resources, working in partnership with the sectors in the design of these new facilities.
Number and age range of learners: 10,000 16+
Date of Estyn inspection: 14 – 18 February 2011
Brief contextual information about the provider
Pembrokeshire College has sustained growth in student enrolments since 1993. Provision includes full and part time FE and HE, work based and commercial programmes, outreach, community courses and on-line learning. There were in excess of 10,000 full and part time students enrolled during 2009/10 and the College expects a similar recruitment figure for 2010/11.
The student enrolment total for 2009/10 is made up from the following categories:
Full time Further Education: 1758 Full time Higher Education: 133
Part time Further Education: 7448 Part time Higher Education: 337
Work Based Learning: 665
In addition the College enrols over 120 international students on an annual basis.
The main campus is in the county town of Haverfordwest (population 17,000). A £3.2 million Innovation Centre building, specialising in advanced technology, was officially opened on the site in November 2003. A new Construction Centre has also been built and this opened to students in September 2008 enabling the College to withdraw from less suitable leased offsite premises. A £4million refurbishment and extension of the engineering wing was undertaken during 2009 and building works were completed in January 2010. These new facilities provide state of the art renewable, oil, and gas energy resources for delivery of a curriculum to meet local industry need.
There is another campus in Milford Haven where computing, boatbuilding and engineering courses are delivered and other LEA centres and community venues are used for delivery of the College’s STEP programme. The College has in the past franchised all of its HE provision from the University of Glamorgan though is now developing its relationship University of Wales Trinity St David’s in order to provide progression to HE on a regional basis on a range of vocationally oriented degrees.
The College customer base is as diverse as might be expected in a general FE institution. Most full time students are 16-19 although there are exceptions e.g. Access courses for returning learners and there is some infill onto full time courses. Adults enrol for vocational part time, HE, both full and part time, and on a pattern of evening and some community based programmes that target hard to reach learners. The third main category of customer relates to employers and businesses which is an area that the College is currently expanding on. In addition to the above, the College is already experiencing further demand for working in partnership on 14-16 initiatives with schools; the development of specialist curriculum areas working with the existing and emerging energy industries; and the need to support local developments in the tourism sector through cross College programmes.
How the area of excellent/sector-leading practice, identified during the inspection, relates to a particular key question, quality indicator and/or aspect
This area of excellent/sector leading practice relates directly to key quality indicator 2.4 The Learning Environment. The College has invested approximately £8million in the estate since 2007 and two areas which have specifically benefited, Construction and Engineering, directly relate to local industry need.
Context and background to excellent/sector-leading practice
In recent years Pembrokeshire has seen major investment in the energy industry by multinational companies. The College has over time developed extensive links with local employers in this priority sector via the Pembrokeshire Energy Sector Workforce Development Group (PESWDG). This group was established in 2006 in response to the Haven Spatial Plan and includes the important players in the Energy and Engineering sectors and meets bimonthly. The PESWDG includes representation from the energy sector industries, including client company representatives, main contractors, subcontractors, representativesf rom COGENT, the ECITB, Pembrokeshire County Council, Careers Wales West, Pembrokeshire Business Initiative and the Welsh Assembly Government (DCELLS Energy Sector Skills Manager). This group has developed a comprehensive plan to guide its actions and has succeeded in gaining European funding for a project to up skill the existing workforce.
Another employer forum, the Engineering Construction Employers Group, was established in 2008 when new facilities were being designed at Milford Haven MITEC Centre to deliver industrial welding, pipefitting and plating. Employer involvement in the design and equipping of these facilities has assisted in developing excellent relationships with this important sector.
Description of nature of strategy or activity identified as excellent/sector-leading practice
Pembrokeshire College has recently undertaken a refurbishment of the engineering facilities as part of its commitment to delivering the highest quality education and training to the energy and engineering sectors in the county. The provision of industry standard technology and resources is an essential component of this commitment.
Apart from the oil refineries located in Pembrokeshire there have been recent developments in the LNG field with the opening of the South Hook and Dragon LNG plants. In addition to this, a new gas powered power station is under construction. Supply chain industries are also going from strength to strength in tandem with these developments requiring the College’s engineering staff team to maintain competence and expand to meet the needs of delivery and assessment within the industry.
Over the last year £4m has been invested in rebuilding, revamping and refurbishing the engineering workshop and laboratory facilities. Included in the engineering refurbishment has been the development of a dedicated Virtual Control room. This room allows students to train in a realistic environment. The process simulation system is used to train new students and refresh refinery operations staff. Software is also being developed and modified to support the LNG and power station systems. The machine shop has been re-equipped with new lathes and millers and new areas have been developed to support materials testing, hydraulics/pneumatics, maintenance, instrumentation and control.
The MITEC Engineering centre at Milford Haven has been developed to deliver ECITB Engineering courses to an industrial standard. The building is split into three distinct workshops, welding, pipefitting and plating and there is an exterior training and assessment area which is set up as a mock refinery allowing realistic training in the above three disciplines. Staff are encouraged to attend personal development programmes in order to keep abreast of changing Technology and to enhance the College’s provision. Pembrokeshire College will continue with the strategy of developing and improving its facilities and resources to ensure employer requirements can be met.
What impact has this work had on the quality of provision and learners’ standards?
In Engineering (SSA 4) results have improved steadily for all measures. For 2009/10, all course successful completion has increased by 16 percentage points since 2006/07 to 82%, all course attainment by 11 percentage points to 91% and all course completion by 7 percentage points to 90% over the same period.
The ECITB accredited Engineering Construction programme delivered in the new purpose built workshops at the College’s MITEC centre in Milford Haven achieved outstanding results in its first year 2008/09 with 100% successful completion of the College based qualifications, this excellent success rate continued for a second successive year in 2009/10.
Work Based learning results have improved substantially over recent years and this trend has continued. For 2009/10 overall framework achievement in Technology improved significantly, FMA to 87% an improvement of 20 percentage points in two years and MA to 85% an improvement of 17 percentage points in two years. Excellent framework results were achieved in Chemical Industry (100% FMA and 100% AMA) and Engineering Construction (100% FMA and 95% AMA).