The Education Training Collective (Etc.) has been given the official stamp of approval for its work raising students’ aspirations and awareness of potential careers ahead.
The group which incorporates Stockton Riverside College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, has been accredited to the matrix Standard.
Matrix is an international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and guidance to support individuals in their choice of career, learning, work or life goals.
The group was particularly praised for its swift and effective use of online platforms during the Covid-19 lockdown period to ensure young people could access the information they needed to support them in achieving their own career aspirations.
“Being able to offer the best advice and guidance we possibly can is a priority for us all as a college group,” said Etc. group director of marketing, Erika Marshall.
“For us this means always offering clear, accurate and impartial information that is best for the individual.
“We are proud to once again have our commitment and efforts recognised by matrix.”
Following a three-day remote assessment, assessors fed back that information, advice and guidance (IAG) is “clearly visible” across all stages of the learner journey throughout the group.
In a glowing report they recognised the resources offered to schools to assist in Year 11 transition, with young people and parents encouraged to use the facilities of the group for independent advice and guidance.
The assessors said: “The aims of the IAG service are to offer advice that recruits people on the right course, to remove barriers to learning and to provide advice and support for students to progress.”
This is carried out through a range of services including school visits, careers events, workshops, tutorials, enrichment activities, one-to-one interviews as well as open events, taster sessions and student services drop-ins.
The report stated, in addition: “When a learner ends their study, they are included in the sustained destination monitoring that takes place, during which they are offered further IAG and regular contact to ensure they have sustained their onward destination.”
Highlighting strengths, the assessors said: “There is an inspirational and consistent leadership for IAG across the group.
“Staff are directed to look at aspirations and life readiness rather than focus solely on courses and jobs.”
They said: “The result is that staff feel clear that learners should be at the heart of their work and that challenging societal barriers in localities is a key feature of their support.”
Erika added: “Our responsibility is not just to deliver courses and training but to ensure that we are giving all of our students and learners the guidance to achieve the best possible outcomes for their future careers.”
Roger Chapman, head of the matrix service for The Growth Company, said: “We believe that at the heart of high-quality advice and support services are strong leadership, excellent service and a focus on continuous improvement, all underpinned by effective use of the resources available.
“The matrix Standard is designed to benchmark organisations against best practice in these areas. With their accreditation success, the Education Training Collective is working to provide the best possible support to their clients.”