A new approach to teaching finance

Demand from employers and employees for flexible learning solutions is driving new partnerships in education. Now there is a greater choice on how and where you study your professional qualifications. Milton Keynes College and Mindful Education have partnered to meet learners’ needs and desires to further their skill set around work and life commitments.

Blended learning provides a solution to one of the biggest barriers facing adult learners – a perceived lack of flexibility in education study options, as identified in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills research paper where 70% of survey participants considered information on flexibility important in their decision-making process.

Tracey Matthews, Assistant Principal: Apprenticeships & Adult Education, comments on Milton Keynes College’s partnership with Mindful Education:

“We’re excited to launch a redesign of our approach to teaching finance courses. Working in partnership with Mindful Education puts learners and the employers at the heart of our offering, delivering flexibility, ease of access and academic expertise, with part-time AAT courses and accounting apprenticeships leading the way with our new approach. We’ve spoken with our learners and employers, listening to their feedback and preferences to deliver a flexible way to study both professional qualifications and apprenticeships.”

Why does this work for the local economy?

A total of 79% of businesses highlighted a shortage of skills as one of their top three worries according to PWC’s 2019 Talent Trends, with 49% stating their preferred solution to this would be to upskill their current workforce.

Traditional approaches to training your employees requires learners to spend considerable time away from their day job, which can be a challenge for teams and managers. However, ‘strategy+business’ reports that every £1 invested in training, will return at least £2 in revenue or savings.

Upskilling plays a key role in employee engagement and retention. Of the 400 cross-generational employees Shift Learning surveyed, 70% of respondents indicated that job related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay in their role. Launched in January 2020, our professional accounting technician apprenticeship combines Milton Keynes College’s traditional high-quality teaching with online lessons that can be accessed any time, using a mobile, tablet or desktop - the online and on campus approach. Shortly followed by the launch of the part-time AAT Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping, which started in February. The online and on campus approach to training benefits both the employer and employee in providing a flexible training solution in an economic climate where 23% of local businesses have had a job vacancy that was difficult to fill, with 53% stating a lack of required skills as the reason, according to SEMLEP research.

Making the right investment in staff training guarantees value for money and is key to ensure an increase in staff performance as well as job satisfaction. The ‘Online and On Campus’ model is an effective way to develop your team with minimal disruption to your business, as the amount of time an employee is needed out of the office is halved. Mark Mckenna, Managing Director at Mindful Education, comments on the programme: “By offering Online and On Campus programmes, learners will have at least 50% less travel time and associated costs. The intention is that the combination of high-quality Online and On Campus learning will break down some important barriers for learners and therefore widen access in the Milton Keynes area.”

How does it work?

The apprenticeship and part-time courses run in association with Mindful Education and are supported through interactive learning at one of Milton Keynes College’s conveniently located campuses, where an experienced tutor will lead group exercises and classroom coaching. Online lessons can then be accessed through Mindful Education’s bespoke training platform where they deliver a media-rich learning experience for students to access any time, any place.

Milton Keynes College’s partnership with Mindful Education came as a direct response to employer partner feedback. At Milton Keynes College we work closely with local employers to understand how our courses and qualifications can be tailored to meet their unique needs. Working with employers to understand their specific training requirements allows us to adapt course content and delivery in line with actual needs.

Our employer partners required more opportune education programmes, so that is what we delivered.

If you would like more information on Milton Keynes College’s partnership with Mindful Education, or would like to have a chat about learning solutions to your business, get in contact with Tracey Matthews on Tracey.Matthews@MKCollege.ac.uk

Milton Keynes College has been shortlisted for Apprenticeship Programme of the Year in the TES FE Awards 2020.