The CIFE was set up in 2013 by the then Minister of Skills John Hayes to recognise the important role that Further and Technical education plays in the economy and in developing the skills of our future workforce. It’s a very prestigious honour and only 18 organisations currently hold this accolade.
We know from our experience what a difference achieving Chartered status means to learners in sectors such as Accounting. So it’s something that we have great pride in now we’ve achieved it for ourselves.
Our application was particularly welcomed as it demonstrated expertise in our sector, but it also recognises the valuable work we do across the wider industry.
It also reflected the commitment of the employers that we work with to provide a first class training and employment experience.
One provider, many masters?
As a regulated Further Education provider, an Inspected Independent Training provider, and a commercial business, it can be difficult to know where to focus most effort.
What your clients, board, and regulators want can seem to be very different and if you aren’t careful you can lose your direction.
As we went through the Chartered application process, we had to look for our true north and work out whose requirements held the trump card.
The only answer to this was an unremitting focus upon the learner. If we got things right for them, then it meant that we could satisfy the needs of all other stakeholders, or at least explain to them why we are doing what we do.
As well as regular satisfaction surveys and feedback, we have introduced learner feedback forums to explore the learner experience in greater detail and depth.
A good example of this has been a recent workshop on communications to learners. Like many businesses, we have often relied on email to communicate information: it’s fast, reliable and leaves a permanent record.
However, with our learner base being mostly aged 18-24, the feedback was that email is not something that they have grown to rely on in the same way as some of us older workers have over the past twenty years.
They find it confusing to store and interpret, and often don’t even read the carefully constructed messages that we send out to them! Thus, we need to find a smarter, more modern way to communicate with them. This is not just limited to Social Media either, but finding meaningful points of contact.
This is a fairly common example of the kind of issue that an application for Chartered Status helped us to focus on and improve.
We’re delighted that our continuous drive towards improving what we do has resulted in such prestigious recognition, and this achievement should also be credited to our clients and learners too.