The Isle of Wight College has been awarded the prestigious whole-college re-accreditation for the matrix Standard.
The matrix Standard is the unique quality framework for the effective delivery of impartial information, advice and guidance (IAG) about learning and work. Although many colleges have partial matrix accreditation not all have been successful in obtaining accreditation for the whole college; and many have no IAG accreditation at all.
At The Isle of Wight College this means the quality of the service extends to the main campus and outreach centres and with the service meeting the needs of school students, adults and businesses alike. The College has continued its development of a broad range of support services to learners and IAG is now fully embedded across the College.
Not only does the college have its own fully qualified, impartial, Careers Adviser (Catherine Jackson) but also a team trained in information, advice and guidance skills and mandated to offer impartial guidance to all learners. The matrix Standard has given the whole college a focus for IAG and their role within it and how to continue to improve the support for clients.
During the Accreditation Review, which involved external assessment over 3 days, and interviews with learners, employers and partners, areas of good practice were identified including:
Using technology to improve access to information
“The college has developed systems to improve the range and accuracy of online information and access to it. For example, through improvements to course information on the website and through an online application system, information can be access from a range of electronic devices.”
Using technology to improve access to/showcase events
“This in turn has the potential for broadening stakeholder engagement. For example, the service provided live broadcasts of various award ceremonies in 2016, thus enabling those parties unable to attend the awards ceremony to access and (remotely) celebrate the success of learners. The service has also used drone footage of the site and You-Tube clips to provide information on college activities/information”
“College staff work proactively with a range of partners to enhance progression opportunities and address skills gaps. For example, the Careers Adviser working with relevant staff, has been able to bridge progression steps into higher education for several qualifications where progression opportunities were lacking. The college has worked closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other stakeholders to develop STEM facilities/enhance STEM skillsets and to create CECAMM to better meet the needs of the local labour market.”
Bespoke and flexible support
“The college’s ethos of ‘students first’ is clearly embedded in practice and is demonstrated in a range of flexible programmes and tailored support to meet the needs of different learners”.
Currency of knowledge within discipline areas
“Staff interviewed were able to comment on proactive strategies for updating their professional knowledge including developing partnerships/networks with employers and other professional contacts, visits from and to universities/employers, access to relevant journals/bodies and internal/external training workshops.”
The report concluded:
Overall, learners interviewed felt that the support they received through the college was individualised, enabled them to focus on their personal goals, understand their options, increase their confidence and motivation and be better able to plan next steps. Many learners commented on the fact that their aspirations and goals had been enhanced and they were now able to consider higher level qualifications and broader career paths. Those looking at university options generally felt that they were well prepared for higher education, had been able to explore courses relevant to them and were positive about future possibilities.
Principal Debbie Lavin, CBE said “We are delighted with this re-accreditation as the College continues to go from strength to strength. It proves The College is customer centred, learner centred, client centred, and students are knowledgeable and informed. Thus fulfilling our mission of ‘Putting Students First’, ‘Working with Employers’ and ‘Developing the Community.”