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Over the last decade, the concept of employer engagement in further education has become one of the top global priorities in education. This evolution reflects a broader recognition of its potential to address educational, social, economic, and technological challenges.

Governments worldwide have been advocating for a closer relationship between employers and the educational sector, a stance reinforced in this country by the recent FE White Paper. This document advocates for employers to play a pivotal role in shaping Post-16 skills education in colleges, emphasising the creation of Local Skills Improvement Plans to direct curriculum choices. Such initiatives aim not just to close skills gaps but to fuel economic growth by enhancing productivity.

Yet, as we navigate this partnership terrain, the balance becomes crucial. The goal? To forge a mutually beneficial alliance rather than a one-sided dynamic, which requires meticulous planning and effort behind the scenes.

During the 2022/23 academic year, I embarked on Action Research within Runshaw College's Graphic Design curriculum. My personal interest in pursuing this stemmed from previous research that revealed that employers faced large skills shortages and skills gaps in today’s workforce. Driven by a passion to address this, this project was a mission to enhance our curriculum and directly impact our learners and, by extension, the wider economy.

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