DCG Secures Further Funding To Boost Technical Skills

Derby College Group (DCG) has been chosen as one of 54 colleges and training providers to recruit and train new FE teachers and improve links with industry in key technical areas.

DCG will be among the first colleges to offer T Levels from September 2020 in the areas of childcare and education, digital, engineering and construction.

To support this, DCG will be recruiting five industry specialists in Engineering, Robotics/Mechatronics and Digital and supporting them through full teaching qualifications with funding from the second wave of the £5 million national Taking Teaching Further programme.

DCG Director of Teaching, Learning and Academic Research Melanie Lanser explained: “It is extremely difficult to recruit teachers in these specialist subjects due to competition from elsewhere in the education sector and industry itself.

“This funding will enable us to bring more current industry knowledge and experience into the classroom and gives us a head start in launching T Levels in 2020.

“With this additional funding we can provide our new teachers with intensive support to support their development, help with the transition from industry to education and rapidly develop dual practice.  Our new teachers will be supported to achieve a full teaching qualification at the College.”

A further aspect of the programme will be to develop the College curriculum to better prepare the future workforce in automated manufacturing.

DCG has launched the ‘We are the robots’ project to tackle the skill shortages in the automated engineering and manufacturing sector, including food and drink manufacturing which is one of the eight key sectors of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. 

With over 400 food and drink manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire employing 17,000 people, D2N2 LEP report that food and drink companies wanting to grow or expand but have a recruiting problem with finding suitably skilled people.

In order to support industry priorities, DCG are planning to introduce Advanced Manufacturing Engineering into the curriculum such as Industrial Robot Technology, Industrial Plant and Process Control, and Electro-Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems and Devices in order to support the development of a future skilled workforce.

The provision will be centred around DCG’s new £1.75 million Mechatronics laboratory to further at the Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills College in Pride Park which has been supported by a £1.3m grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The facilities will be officially opened in early summer, in time for the new intake of students in September 2019.

The Mechatronics equipment, designed by Festo, is a scaled-down version of their next generation of industry production lines.

It mirrors the high-tech artificial intelligence manufacturing equipment that is commonly used in a wide range of industry sectors from confectionary to cars.

Melanie Lanser concluded: “Working in partnership with regional employers will enable industry-led teacher development to address the current barriers of teacher specialist knowledge within this area and engage with employer organisations so that they inform and direct the pedagogical approaches in pursuit of shared objectives.”

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