By working together, Gateway Qualifications and East Kent College developed a suite of vocational skills that addresses the challenges of improving employability, and increasing participation and progression among learner at risk of becoming NEET.

A challenge to be met

The number of unemployed young people in the East Kent area was almost double the national average, with educational accomplishment for those under 16 ranking low and only half of the learners achieving 5 A* – C GCSE grades. East Kent College wanted to change this and encourage progression.

Setting a template for the sector

We at Gateway Qualifications pride ourselves with the keywords partnership, integrity, originality and quality, and set out to create a suite of qualifications that would address the challenge set by East Kent College – and create a template for the whole of the FE sector.

Results that speak for themselves

With 300 learners now registered on this Beacon Award-winning Progression Curriculum, the results are evident:

  • Retention rates at 96% – previously 20% of students left in the first 6 weeks
  • 94% completion rate
  • 10% year-on-year increase of those continuing education or training
  • 90% of learners felt good about achievements
  • 98% shows positive progression
  • Satisfaction levels at 100%!
  • Over 20% of students previously seen as NEET go on to employment, 70% to further learning

Attainments for learners have improved and are now good in the majority of programme areas, outcomes for learners at foundation level are outstanding

Ofsted, March 2013

A partnership of like minds

Having learned from a pilot system using qualifications from another Awarding Organisation, East Kent College identified the need for a more vocationally specific solution that could be delivered as a project-based curriculum.

They chose us at GQ to work with on the programme, favouring our flexible, like-minded organisation; big enough to provide necessary resources, agile enough to respond with a bespoke suite of qualifications.

Gateway Qualifications was uniquely able to deliver the suite of qualifications we needed, through its in-depth experience of the sector and its ability to provide innovative, bespoke solutions

Graham Razey, Principal, East Kent College

An innovative solution devised by Gateway Qualifications

We were able to produce vocational qualifications which are delivered over more than ten curriculum areas. The integral flexibility offered learners the opportunity to transfer between vocational areas at set ‘rotation’ points throughout the year.

We applied our 2 decades of experience to the process, and consulted with East Kent College, local authority, headteachers, learners, and others outside the agencies. The result was a suite of qualifications that delivered elasticity, quality, and learner engagement.

Implemented by East Kent College in award-winning manner

Under the inspirational leadership of Principal Graham Razey, East Kent College were able to deliver these qualifications with great success.

Key elements in the success of this AoC Beacon award winning initiative were:

–       Evaluating the existing college offer at Entry Level 3 and Level 1

–       Establishing partnerships with regional and local stakeholders to support recruitment and the provision of teaching and learning

–       Creating a team of Progression Mentors offering one-to-one leaner support

–       Promoting a comprehensive programme of professional development for teaching staff

–       Project managing with top-level team including the Principal and Assistant Principal

–       Working with Gateway Qualifications as the awards organisation

I had a young baby when I started. I had a lot of help and support and I think we all did. When I was on the Progression Curriculum I look at different career option and decided on sport. I finished my Level 1 and I am just about to finish my Level 2. I’m coming back in September to do my Level 3. I am really glad I started on the Progression Curriculum, I have learnt so much and it has given me more confidence

Abbie Freer, East Kent College Learner