Gateshead College meeting regional skills needs

Gateshead College has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for the role it plays in addressing skills needs in the region.

An inspection undertaken by Ofsted in March 2023 awarded Gateshead College the highest grade of ‘strong’ for meeting employer skills needs, with the report acknowledging how embedded this approach is across the organisation.

Ofsted highlighted how college leaders and managers use their strong partnerships with employers and sector specialists to identify emerging skills needs and tackle recruitment challenges in growing sectors such as digital, construction, engineering, manufacturing, and healthcare.

In their report, inspectors also describe how college leaders and managers plan and deliver an up-to-date curriculum in emerging technologies such as film and television screen skills, electric vehicle, green energy and retrofit construction.

“Learners and apprentices gain relevant technical skills that give them a competitive edge when applying for work,” said inspectors. They added: “The curriculum is clearly meeting the needs of industry.”

The comments are made in the latest Ofsted report, which sees Gateshead College rated as being ‘outstanding’ in three areas of performance – adult learning, behaviour and attitudes, and personal development. The college’s overall effectiveness is rated as ‘good’.

Ofsted inspectors recognised that leaders and those responsible for governance have taken successful action to tackle the significant financial challenges that the college faced at the time of the previous inspection. At the same time, leaders have sustained or improved the quality of education for most learners.

Inspectors have special mention to the outstanding work the college does with local employers and partners in meeting local skills needs.

“Leaders work very successfully with partners to understand and influence local and regional skills policy,” says the report. It adds: “They deliver highly effective programmes to address regional priorities, including developing English skills for the growing number of refugees and asylum seekers in the area and for the high number of unemployed adults.”

Inspectors added: “Leaders have ensured that the college has a highly relevant and innovative curriculum offer that is well considered and right for the local and regional economy.”

David Alexander, Principal at Gateshead College, said: “I am delighted that this latest positive Ofsted report recognises the strong contribution Gateshead College is making in working with others to meet employers’ skills needs. The report reflects our continued focus on learners, their experience and outcomes. It is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and passion of our staff, who all understand and recognise the role they play in meeting local skills needs.

“Our learners get industry inspired education that combines high quality learning with real world skills to develop the confidence, personal and professional skills to succeed.

“Our vision is simple – to be at the heart of a thriving community, helping people to achieve their full potential and gain the employment edge.”