A new consortium headed by Kingston University has secured almost £3 million in Government funding to increase the number of students on vocational paths progressing on to higher level programmes. The South London Lifelong Learning Network (SL LLN) will use the grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to raise students’ aspirations and produce a more skilled workforce.
Made up of 10 higher education institutions, 13 further education colleges and 20 other organisations including local authorities and education and skills agencies, the network will focus on ways to enhance progress and achievement. It will work to ensure more learners who have vocational qualifications rather than traditional A-levels consider higher level study by providing information and advice, identifying appropriate programmes for them to pursue and liaising closely with employers to ensure course content keeps pace with industry requirements.
The network will initially concentrate on three priority sectors – healthcare and biomedical science, construction and engineering, and sport and leisure. Kingston staff member Denise Cooper has been appointed Director of the SL LLN and will be responsible for co-ordinating relationships with partners across the region. “By pooling the partners’ respective expertise in a more strategic way, we will draw on their strengths to co-ordinate our marketing approach, develop joint projects and raise awareness about the importance of vocational qualifications in the modern-day job market,” she said.
Kingston’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart has been chosen to chair the network’s steering group. “Far too many people still don’t get the chance to carry on into further and higher education and the funding secured by the SL LLN will be an enormous asset in assisting us to remove the barriers preventing them from doing so,” Professor Stuart said. “I look forward to working with the consortium members to expand opportunities for learners in the region.”