Apprenticeships Case Study: Bishop Burton College
In this case study, we look at how we collaborated with Bishop Burton College.
Land-based and sports learning specialist Bishop Burton College was named BTEC College of the Year 2017 in July. We caught up with Rick Lyon, Director of Marketing at the college, near Beverley, to find out what lies behind its success.
Bishop Burton offers flexible delivery models, which are often delivered in partnership with employers. This enables us to deliver at distance and utilise the expertise in the workplace to enhance the learning experience. The results of our FE Choices Employer Satisfaction Survey for 2016 were very positive, with an overall grading of 9.3 out of 10 - the highest of any specialist land-based college in the country. The College continues to be responsive to the needs of employers. New provision is always based on thorough market research to determine demand and in conjunction with local and regional employers.
Recent curriculum innovation includes the development of precision agriculture and sports programmes to support the health and wellbeing agenda. This approach has contributed to 97% of students securing work or going on to a higher level of study within six months of finishing their course. Bishop Burton's apprenticeship provision now has 278 employers supporting 421 students through training.
The College has maintained its excellent Apprenticeship success rates of 81% against a national average of 71%. The College also reports 100% of apprentices continued into successful employment at the end of their studies.
The students always come first at Bishop Burton College. All the staff are fully committed to ensuring students fulfil their potential and go on to become the best they can be.
Following a full inspection in February 2017, Ofsted highlighted the “positive culture of learning and respect” and “expert and enthusiastic” tutors as key factors in the high number of students who succeed. It concluded: “All staff promote a positive culture of learning and respect that motivates learners to achieve.”
But the College is not only interested in the academic and professional success of our students – we want them to be the happiest, healthiest people they can be. For this reason, sport and wellbeing – both physical and mental – are at the heart of College life. We run numerous emotional and physical health support initiatives throughout the academic year, including our Healthy Campus initiative, which encourages students to take part in a range of activities designed to improve their well-being.
The College has numerous sports teams. These are used not only for students to be able to pursue a passion and keep fit, but also develop essential life skills such as team working and leadership.
We also want them to be good people.
The instilment of the College Values is instrumental in this, as is our commitment to equality and diversity. Everyone is made to feel welcome and supported at Bishop Burton College. All students are treated fairly and we recognise and actively promote difference, whether it is through race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief.
There is no typical day at Bishop Burton College. Every day is exciting, challenging, fulfilling and rewarding. But every day is different.
As a specialist land-based and sports college, Bishop Burton has a huge breadth of courses and activities being delivered on any given day.
All our vocational BTEC provision includes work experience placements and, where relevant in areas such as agriculture and equine, on site duties. Students are fully prepared for employment or a higher level of study.
But they also go above and beyond, with many students receiving regional, national and even international recognition for their achievements during their time at the College.
We provide all our full-time Further Education Students with free transport to and from College and on-site accommodation is also available, contributing to a truly vibrant experience and atmosphere.
Bishop Burton, which includes Riseholme College, is also investing in the future, with a new £24million campus recently opening in Lincolnshire. This is believed to be the first new land-based college campus to open in the UK in more than 50 years.
We are a values-driven organisation. The College believes in;
- First class / first choice vocational education
- Respect for each other and our campus
- A ‘can do’ attitude
- Striving for excellence in all that we do.
Every single BTEC course includes a period of work placement with an industry-relevant organisation. This gives students the practical, hands-on experience needed to prepare them for a career in their chosen sector. Many students secure part-time jobs to complement their studies through these placements, which become full-time roles when they finish their course. Strategic partnerships are a core element of the College's approach to teaching and learning. Sport is a clear example of this, with the College being the home of the academies for Hull City, Hull FC and Hull KR.
As an official partner of the three biggest professional sports clubs in the region, the College is able to offer its own students official pathways into these organisations. Similarly, in agriculture, students benefit from the College's formal partnership with Agrii. The College farm hosts the Agrii crops trials, which numerous farming students have had the benefit of working on and have actually secured positions with the company at the end of their studies. The College also makes use of the latest technology, with tractor, combine harvester and welding simulators, as well as drones, all enhancing students' learning experience.
In equine, students benefit from the College's world-class facilities and are able to get involved in the numerous high-profile equestrian events Bishop Burton hosts throughout the year. In its recent Ofsted inspection, the College was praised for having a "positive culture of learning and respect" and "expert and enthusiastic" teachers, contributing to the high number of students who succeed.
More students than ever before are now securing work or going on to higher level of study after completing their course at Bishop Burton College. The figure of 97% going into employment or a higher level of study within six months of completing was achieved through practical teaching and learning, work experience placements embedded in all programmes and the College's outstanding employer links and partnerships, which offer students additional routes into work.
Bishop Burton College promotes BTEC as a pathway to parents and students through a range of traditional and contemporary platforms. All BTECs and the advantages of this as a pathway are promoted in the College prospectuses and other printed publications, as well as the recently re-developed website. Positive case studies are used to promote subject areas, particularly with former students who have gone on to launch interesting and successful careers.
All BTEC subject areas are also promoted with their own video, which is hosted on the website and used for targeted digital advertising. This targeted digital advertising has been a particular focus for the promotion of BTEC as a pathway in the last year, with the College using it to reach particular audiences. Progression from one level BTEC to another is also heavily promoted internally to current students and their parents, including during a dedicated annual Progression Week. During this week, external speakers from business and industry are invited in to highlight the benefits of further level study. The College also hosts interactive taster sessions for students to gain a better understanding of what they will study if they progress to a higher level of study.