St Helens College is celebrating after becoming the first general Further Education College in the Liverpool City Region to achieve the highly acclaimed STEM Assured status, placing the College on a list of the UK’s top providers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education.
STEM Assured status is a government and industry-backed validation that recognises the delivery of high quality STEM education and training. This status is only granted to institutions that provide consistent, high quality STEM-related provision in alignment with industry requirements and are committed to continual innovation to keep pace with rapid advances in technology and latest industrial practices.
As part of the accreditation process, the independent assessors from STEM Foundation visited St Helens College to meet students, tutors and external representatives including employers. Their final report commending that the College receive STEM Assured status was sent for final approval by an advisory panel that brings together both senior representatives from key industry sectors and educational stakeholders.
Dr Jette Burford, Principal said, “This prestigious quality mark is a testament to the work that we as a College are undertaking with staff, students and employers. We are proud to be leading STEM development across the Liverpool City Region and hold a real enthusiasm and commitment towards the advancement of the STEM agenda.”
This award follows recent developments and investments at the College including launching a dedicated STEM Centre following £5million redevelopment work at the Technology Campus in June 2016, achieving £3million funding for an innovative Northern Logistics Academy, a new SMART Metering Workshop and a recent £2million investment in libraries and learning facilities.
Vice Principal, Victoria Roberts commented, “In response to an ever-changing marketplace and the requirements of the local economy, we have revolutionised our STEM Strategy including the development of our STEM Manifesto. This helps us to ensure that our curriculum offer is relevant, up to date and aligned with demand from employers and the industry. As a College we strive to ensure that our students are well equipped to launch successful careers and feed the demand for skills and jobs in this growth sector.”
The accreditation panel from STEM Foundation were impressed by the development and delivery of foundation and bachelor degrees, the ongoing development of a Nursing Academy and a strengthened offer in enterprise development and creative and digital skills. St Helens College is also taking positive steps to encourage more women to enter STEM-related industries in a bid to contribute to 2020 diversity targets.
Prof Sa’ad Medhat, STEM Foundation’s CEO said: “STEM is the fundamental driver of our economy and companies are searching constantly for those individuals with the requisite STEM skills to meet their demands and enable business growth. Gaining a STEM Assured status enables a college to standout and be differentiated as a provider that has developed STEM provision that not only aligns to employers' needs, but uses innovation to deliver opportunities to students and the regional economy."