Preparing students for their future careers is essential to Further Education colleges, with learners developing skills ready for the workplace.
At Derby College, where qualifications in leadership skills have been a part of the curriculum for over 17 years, students develop these skills as part of their broader sports studies courses.
Chris Sadler has been a lecturer at the College all that time and having introduced leadership skills qualifications, he is instrumental in supporting the learners through their programmes. Chris believes leadership skills greatly benefit students in terms of their college studies and their first steps in employment. He says: “To me, leadership skills are massive because they’re what employers are crying out for.
“They’re not looking for someone that they need to hand-hold through everything, they’re looking for someone that they can just throw in at the deep end and let them get on with it, especially as there are lot of employers still playing catch-up as a result of the pandemic.
“They want ready-made products as such, so we feel that doing the course from the Leadership Skills Foundation, alongside their other studies in college, helps them to understand what those real-life scenarios are really like so that when they get there, they’re not a rabbit in the headlights.
“Instead, they can actually undertake the challenges and tasks that have been set within an employer’s expectations.”
At Derby College the students are taught leadership skills and how to use them in a variety of situations very early in their courses. This differs to most other situations, where students are usually taught the theory first; Chris explains why they take this approach and how it helps the students: “Usually you do the theory, then you go to the practical environment to show what you’ve learned.
“Here we try to encourage them to do the main learning in the practical situation and then apply that to the academic work.
“That approach helps the learners who are more practically-minded; it’s a more hands-on approach, kind of like kinaesthetic learning, where they see a situation in action and they learn by doing.
“Instead of sitting in a classroom being talked at, they can put things straight into practice by flipping the situation and us helping them to see what they could do. Then they learn how the theory fits.”