Businesses have long worked with education institutions to deliver work experience opportunities, strengthening their ties to industry, and supporting the next generation of skilled workers. However, some businesses remain hesitant to reach out to their local education providers and establish positive working relationships. Reasons include a lack of access to guidance and support, information on regulations, and time and resource constraints. This hesitancy could mean that businesses are missing out on the significant benefits of partnership for their own organisation.
Over the past decade, Moulton College in Northamptonshire has successfully partnered with businesses across its curriculum. These partnerships provide an avenue for its students to gain industry work experience, network with prospective employers and contribute to a sector they are passionate about. The college has both sought to partner with relevant businesses and been approached by organisations keen to draw on the invaluable skill set of its students.
Chester House Estate is the college’s most recent partnership, providing work experience opportunities across the estate for students on animal, business, construction, food and nutrition and land-based courses. This £14.5m project, funded by North Northamptonshire Council, West Northamptonshire Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund is set to be complete by the end of this year.
Jack Pishhorn, Business Manager of Chester House Estate, said: “One of my first actions when I started working at Chester House was to reach out to Moulton College to seek an educational partnership. We have huge ambitions for the estate and given the specialist nature of the college’s courses, I knew there was a huge opportunity for both of us. The future of our estate is reliant on the talent and passion of the next generation, and I knew that the college’s students would thrive in our unique business environment.”
In October, an Agriculture Focus Group was set up by the college to ensure the curriculum is consistently meeting the needs of industry. This group includes farmers from across the county and Farol Ltd, an agricultural dealership, all with a vested interest in upskilling the next generation of young farmers.
Dylan Roberts, Director at Farol, said: “What better way for Moulton’s students to learn about agriculture than alongside us and with other farmers across Northamptonshire. All education providers need the support from businesses to help equip students for industry, whether that’s by offering work experience, or providing professional advice through a focus group. By working together, businesses not only tap into a pool of potential employees, but can be assured they are positively influencing the calibre of talent that ultimately joins the sector.”
On the back of this focus group, the businesses involved have been working together to develop the UK’s first certificate in agricultural technologies that will sit alongside a college course. This certificate provides a unique opportunity for the college’s students to stand out to prospective employers.
Moulton College has also established partnerships across its sporting provision. Organisations include Coventry Rugby Club, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Northamptonshire Titans, to name a few. These partnerships not only provide opportunities for students to play alongside professionals and get a taste for life as a pro athlete, but for top clubs to scout out talent.
John O’Shea, Vice Principal at Moulton College said: “As an education provider, working with businesses couldn’t be more important. It’s essential our students have access to industry professionals to improve their prospects, and these partnerships ensure we’re identifying all of the means by which we can help them, too. The benefits don’t just end there, though. In the last year or so, we’ve already witnessed the incredible outcomes of these partnerships, from developing the UK’s first agricultural technology certificate to improving inclusivity in sports. We are committed to increasing our links with local businesses in the future, for the benefit of our students and the local business community.”
To find out more about how your business could work with Moulton College visit www.moulton.ac.uk