Technical Education comes to Oldham

At the Opportunity Area (OA) Partnership Board meeting in April, we learned about plans to set up our exciting new technical education offer.

Developments in technical education will open up a world of opportunities to young people and provide additional ways to progress into careers or higher education.  Apprenticeships are already offered in Oldham and the new T Levels will be introduced from September 2020, but this is only part of a local plan to deliver a high-quality technical education offer.

Alan Benvie from Oldham College told us about the work happening to introduce a great technical education offer in Oldham.  This offer will be co-designed and piloted between Oldham College and a small number of secondary schools in Oldham.  Alan also updated us on the developing partnership between Oldham College and the Gatsby Foundation.  This partnership will focus on how best to interpret and communicate the ways you can progress through technical education into careers or higher education, which will be crucial when we begin to promote the value of following a technical pathway to our young people.  To start with, the technical offer will focus on the construction and digital industries.

To help young people, parents and carers, teachers, and employers understand what technical education will mean for them, there will be:

  • roadshows
  • taster days
  • the chance to spend time in a workplace

More information will be out soon.  Follow us on Twitter @OldhamOA for the latest news.

Employers are at the heart of the design of the new technical qualifications and pathways. T levels and Apprenticeship programmes will provide skilled workers to local employers. We are keen to involve interested employers right from the start. Email us at OpportunityAreas.OLDHAM@education.gov.uk to express your interest or to find out more.

We also heard from Rob Caudwell who spoke to us about the new Oldham Insight School (OIS). The OIS is led by a consortium whose members are OASIS Charitable Trust, The Harmony Trust and Sola Fide C. of E. Multi-Academy Trust.  The consortium will work in partnership with the University of Manchester to evaluate the work of the Opportunity Area and provide us with valuable insights into the impact of our work. A crucial role for the OIS is to help schools in Oldham improve by sharing research and evidence. Rob is speaking to us in detail at the next board meeting and we look forward to hearing more.

We met another welcome addition to the OA team in Patsy Kane. Patsy will be working with school leaders in Oldham, supporting them on key school improvement initiatives. Patsy has a wealth of experience and expertise, which led to the award of an OBE in the New Year’s 2019 honours list! We will enjoy the benefits of Patsy’s presence in the team.

James Kempton, Chair of Oldham Opportunity Area Partnership Board