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I hadn’t been working at Telford College long when I submitted the application for the 2023/24 Beacon Awards Beacon Awards. To me, it was immediately clear how much difference the college’s employer hubs made to businesses, employers, the local communities and students both in college and externally.

The hubs are a scalable blueprint for employer engagement: they support local people and businesses to access 21st century skills and training, and ensure that students, communities and partnering employers have access to the cutting edge, innovative technology they need to acquire world class skills and knowledge.

To begin with, the aim of the hubs was to formalise our working partnerships with employers, and a provide a forum in which employers could come together and share good practice on training and upskilling. Through this, we hoped they’d be encouraged to contribute to curriculum planning. However, the hubs have developed to be so much more.

We currently have three hubs all tackling specific skills gaps in our region.

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