Previous Article Next Article Foundations for success?On 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. The Foundation Degrees scheme launched this summer sounds like the idealbridge between academia and work. But will employers benefit? Simon KentreportsAt the end of September 4,000 places became available for new FoundationCourses, a work-based, degree-level qualification. With a choice of 69 courses,70 per cent of which are to be delivered part time, it is the latest initiativein the Government’s campaign to give 50 per cent of all young people the chanceto benefit from higher education by the age of 30. While still in theirinfancy, there appears to be enthusiasm for this new approach from employersinvolved in their creation. But what will Foundation Degrees really bring tothe job market and will the early enthusiasm be justified in the long run? Sue Ogden Training development officer, KLM UK EngineeringThe Foundation Degree will help maintenance organisations and airlines findthe well-qualified, skilled people to fill skills shortages or develop theirexisting staff for more challenging and responsible roles. The status of aircraft engineers will be raised significantly and will givestudents a wider range of options to help them fulfil their career potential. Margaret Hodge Lifelong Learning and Higher Education MinisterTackling skills shortages in key industry sectors is essential to supportthe future growth of UK businesses. Many top companies are crying out forpeople with the right skills and foundation degrees are a great way to deliverthe opportunities for individuals and appropriate skills for employers. Graduates with a Foundation Degree will have what employers want – athorough academic grounding coupled with practical job skills. And becausethese courses are vocational, they are attractive to people who are uncertainabout higher education and want certainty that it will provide a passport to ajob. Mike Cannell Adviser for training and development, CIPDFor the past 15 years or so, this country has suffered in comparison withcountries like Germany or France, from a shortage of intermediate skills. Wehave a high proportion of young people with degrees and a high proportion withno qualifications at all. There has been a lack of good technicians and so it’sclearly a good idea to fill that gap. Having said that, past experience makes me sceptical about these newqualifications. I go along with the principal that intermediate skills needboosting to get our competitiveness up, but the real test will come in two orthree years’ time when we can see what is being provided in this area. David Allan Group human resources director, Huntsman’s Tioxide and PetrochemicalsThis initiative is a good example of excellent collaboration of chemicalindustry representatives, the academic world and the Government’s furthereducation department officials. The scheme has two major key benefits – it will provide another positiveroute into the chemical industry for young people and, as jobs in our industrycontinue to become more and more technically demanding, this course will be avery useful vehicle for up-skilling our existing people and helping them togain a much deeper academic and theoretical background to add to theirpractical experience. Elizabeth Clark HR manager and executive board member, EEF, LancashireThese qualifications fill an important gap in the education system. At themoment, if an individual does not attain certain qualifications by a certaintime, they can leave without fulfilling their potential. These degrees offer agood way for capable workers to achieve a higher academic level. Doing a degreerequires a different mindset and it can be difficult for those who are used toworking on a practical application to make the transition. The degrees will be important to the nation as a whole to gain a competitiveedge through the innovation of our people against the lure of cheaper labourcosts of developing nations. We need to improve our academic skills andencourage R&D to maintain and grow our position in global markets. Gavin Dykes Head of business, management and IT, NescotIn our Sports Therapy Foundation Degree, successful students will gainrecognition from the Association of Sports Therapists, and therefore to movequickly to professional practice. In the E-commerce Technologies Foundation Degree, students will be assistedin their learning through using Cisco and Microsoft materials. They will be ina position to add value to their degree by taking professional computingqualifications. Work experience is built into the courses, and for those keen to developtheir studies further, progression routes to full honours degrees have beenidentified. The result of the partnership between industry and education is new,exciting and relevant qualifications that provide benefits all round. Linda booth HR director, Your CommunicationsYour Communications has become involved in delivering the telecomsspecialism of a technology foundation degree at Blackburn College. We aren’tyet expecting all our people to do a foundation degree, but we don’t run anyapprenticeship schemes and a Foundation Degree could be a good way of bridgingthat gap. The course at Blackburn College is very flexible. Students can move on to itfrom an HNC, and it’s a modular programme so they can do it full or part time. We normally employ graduates, but Foundation Degrees will enable students tocompete for one of our graduate traineeships. Related posts:No related photos.