By Kristina Preston on 19 May 2017
TPP Education and Training attended the AO Forum earlier this month and it is clear there are some mixed views and concerns over the upcoming changes in the education sector.
The awarding body sector hasn’t seen much stability in recent years, from the NQF to the QCF and then on to the RQF, and the sector is now facing yet another set of changes and challenges with the onset of apprenticeships and End-point Assessments.
Add this to the ever-advancing technological changes as well as funding issues, and all the sector currently needs is a chance for some stability to be innovative and not just maintain and adapt in a nimble and agile way.
The main area everyone seems to agree on is that with the changes coming, quality assurance is key to surviving. By improving customers’ experiences through building commercial relationships with centres, providing advice and guidance and supporting them around how they in turn operate at a commercial level whilst ensuring their own quality assurance processes, you will create a strong brand presence through adding value, which may have more power than the traditional regulated qualifications route.
It is also important that awarding bodies look at new areas they can develop. The most obvious route for many AOs is the End-point Assessment route, however this does require a large technology and process investment up front, as well as having to provide proof of long term cash flows and return on investment.
Some organisations are looking at alternative commercial routes. From interactive learning and assessments tools, centre support tools, accreditation services, online resources and learning materials it is in an AO’s best interest to look at improving their commercialisation as at this time it seems to be survival of the strongest!
In fact, on average, 8 AOs a year have handed back their recognition and looked at the non-regulated qualification route. Others have consolidated, or merged to beat the increasing operating costs and uncertainty in future revenue and profits due to the upcoming changes.
Despite this doom and gloom it is important to remember that change is good! It is a chance to really look at your footprint and use market share to differentiate yourself.
By investing in staff and gaining their commitment as well as ensuring you have people of vision and commercial acumen on board you will be able to use drivers such as new technology, the levy and legislation changes to fill skills gaps and shortages through new and exciting means.
The consensus from the forum, as well as from conversations we have had with professionals throughout the sector seems to be that the upcoming changes are scary and unknown, however the AO industry is one that is used to changing government’s minds and will be willing to adapt to new practises especially through a strong and collaborative approach.
TPP Education and Training specialises in the Awarding Body (AO) sector and can provide advice and guidance to organisations looking to recruit or assess internal staffing structures to ensure they are in the best position possible to make the most of the upcoming changes in education.
We provide benchmarking services, networking events and salary surveys as well as recruit for permanent, contract and consultancy staff from CEO and Director level through to administrators in areas such as Quality Assurance, Qualification, Assessment and Product Development, Partnership and Business Development and online learning in both regulated and unregulated awarding environments.
For more information please contact us on 0207 198 6090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.