Case study: Derby College

Case study: Derby College image

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.”

“To me, leadership skills are massive because they’re what employers are crying out for.

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.”

Chris Sadler, Derby College

By working on their Leadership Skills qualification alongside their main curriculum, learners at Derby College can use the skills they develop straight away, putting them into practice in a variety of volunteering situations in the community.

This helps to make the development of skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving an important part of their overall learning journey rather than an additional burden. Chris believes this is really important for the learners and helps them in aspects of their lives: “I think it all intertwines with each other and nothing sits independently.

“There are so many more things that students have to do these days, including a lot of external pressures such as jobs, volunteering and work experience as well as more and more young people looking after family members.

“Having this correlation of an additional qualification like Sports Leaders that runs basically as part of your main qualification helps them because they never see it as duplicating work – it works alongside their other studies.”

Derby College are a great example of how Leadership Skills qualifications can support students in all areas of their learning journey. They help them to feel more confident about completing their main curriculum programme while also preparing them for the next step in their journey, whether that be into full-time employment or more education.

Get in touch with us to find out how to add qualifications in Leadership Skills to your Further Education programme via email hello@leadershipskillsfoundation.org.