Opinion Former Article

Skills for Justice: Celebrating success at Blackburn College

Last Thursday evening (11 September) saw learners from past and present attend a celebration event at the East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education (ELIHE) at Blackburn College. The event took place to celebrate the college's excellent achievement in being the first college in the UK to have its Criminology degree course officially endorsed by 'Skillsmark', the national quality mark for learning in the Justice sector, created by Skills for Justice - the sector skills council for Justice in the UK.

The Bachelor's degree, HND and foundation degree in Criminology offered at ELIHE have all been praised by both Skills for Justice and local Justice Sector employers, for providing students with the skills necessary for them to enter employment within the Justice system, through well-designed courses and modules, quality teaching, work-based learning opportunities, and crucially, involvement from the Justice sector.

"Gaining the Skillsmark endorsement from Skills for Justice is a great achievement and has really motivated us to continue providing this excellent course. It also gives us the impetus to continue our collaborations with the Justice sector to develop our provision even further," said Philip Johnson, HND and FdA Criminology Course Manager at Blackburn College.

He added, "We're delighted that learners from the past and present could be here along with local Justice Sector employers to celebrate this achievement."

Alan Woods OBE, Chief Executive of Skills for Justice, attended the event and presented Belinda Child, course manager of the BA in Criminology, with the Skillsmark endorsement. He also gave a presentation in which he said:

"With employers being asked to invest significantly in the skills of their workforce, they need to be confident that their learning and development programmes represent the best possible quality and will deliver excellence in the areas they need. So, when employers told us that education and training provision was not supporting their skills needs we knew something had to change. Developing Skillsmark, a quality mark to guarantee excellence, seemed the ideal solution.

"The achievement of Skillsmark by Blackburn College is something of a milestone, as it is the first college to achieve Skillsmark recognition. This Skillsmark endorsement is, I believe, heralding a new era of more employer-led, flexible qualifications."

Skillsmark is only awarded to learning providers who have gone through a rigorous assessment process and have been recognised as providing high quality learning programmes, relevant to the needs of the Justice sector. It is an excellent example of how Skills for Justice works with employers and learning providers to ensure that the range of education and training provision, together with associated qualifications, is what they want and need, and is fit for purpose.

A number of other institutions offering higher level qualifications are actively seeking Skillsmark accreditation but Blackburn College is leading the field.

Ends

Notes to editors

Skills for Justice is employer-led and works in partnership to ensure that the Justice sector has the necessary skills and staffing to be productive, efficient and effective. It will provide additional benefits and value to the justice sector through a coordinated approach to skills issues, better use of resources, increased ability to attract development funding into the justice sector and increased ability to meet the needs of the individual countries in the UK.

Skills for Business is an employer-led network consisting of 25 Sector Skills Councils. Through its unrivalled labour market intelligence and insights from employers in all sectors of the UK economy, the network identifies change needed in policy and practice relating to education/skills development. With the influence granted by licenses from the governments of England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, and with private and public funding, this independent network engages with the education and training supply-side - universities, colleges, funders and qualifications bodies, to increase productivity in the workforce.

For more information please contact Ally Mogg, Marketing & PR Officer on 0114 231 7387 or email: ally.mogg@skillsforjustice.com

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