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Newcastle College works with a range of employers in its work-based provision; devising plans to meet their needs and then recommending students from specific courses for particular, suited job roles. In the most recent acknowledgement, Newcastle College recognised a regional skills gap around Building Information Modelling (BIM). Employers were demanding qualified, experienced learners to employ but not enough talent was being driven to the sector. At the same time, the North East Local Enterprise (NELP) identified BIM as a key area for growth in the digital sector.

This encouraged Newcastle College to consider running a qualification that would enable graduates to build on their academic knowledge, while developing skills that would support progression to employment and help their local area grow.

Creating a qualification that builds on learners’ skills

Unable to source suitable BIM qualifications, Newcastle College decided to work with Gateway Qualifications to together create our Level 3 Diploma in the Built Environment with Building Information Modelling; a qualification that would give learners an introduction to both the industry and BIM.

Gateway Qualifications has a good reputation with colleges in our group. I found them to be proactive, innovative and enthusiastic about our proposal. They were willing to invest in a partnership to develop a new curriculum in order to stay ahead of the curve, which is exciting, and enables us to be current for the sector and address LEP priorities.

Deni Chambers, Director of School Creative & Digital Industries, Newcastle College

The primary purpose of this qualification is to provide learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to progress to employment within construction, specifically where employers use building information modelling. The qualification can also be used by those already in the workplace who require upskilling.

Newcastle College is delivering the qualification through a series of online, vocational and practical sessions, utilising the latest specialist IT software.

Gateway Qualifications was able to develop the qualification and confirm funding within very short timescales.

What an achievement in such a tight time frame! Employers are already validating the programme and are encouraged by the measures we have taken to develop new BIM provision. We are hopeful that the destination data from this provision will show high rates of employment gained following the training.

Deni Chambers, Director of School Creative & Digital Industries, Newcastle College

Next steps

The College and Gateway Qualifications are now discussing the development of a second qualification that builds on the initial qualification. It will support new entrants aged 16-19 and adults and will be ready for September 2018. This new qualification will be a full Level 3, which will be graded and include synoptic assessment with employers helping to shape the content. It will be submitted to Section 96 for funding for 16-19 years old whilst adults can utilise a learner loan.

More to follow on these developments, but do feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss delivering the qualification at a future date.