Futureproofing your provision: overcoming the challenges of staffing shortages

Mark McKenna Founder and Managing Director
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At Mindful Education, providing extensive support to college teams, including curriculum managers and tutors, forms a central element of our partnerships. As an organisation we work closely with over 65 college partners, which has meant we have witnessed several tutors leave the profession in recent months for a variety of reasons, including switching to an employer that delivers more flexibility which suits their lifestyle.

The AoC report, ‘College Staffing Challenges in 2022’, highlighted that there were 6,000+ total job vacancies in England’s colleges – the highest in over twenty years. Alongside this, in a recent survey of 4,252 teachers, trainers, support staff and managers by the Education and Training Foundation, 19% of respondents cited recruitment issues, and 10% time pressure, as their main challenge within the sector. 23% of respondents also expressed frustration at the amount of paperwork as well as poor administrative systems.

With these recent findings, the question remains of how this issue can be combatted. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but with tutors seeking more flexibility and providers requiring better administrative support, we have seen first hand that technology can play a key role here.

Using intuitive technology to relieve the pressure of many aspects of a tutors role will have a positive impact on staff retention. On top of this, high-quality blended learning solutions can enable providers to focus tutor time to where they can make a real difference to learners, rather than having to deliver every element of teaching, learning and assessment by themselves. This change to a blended format can make it the ideal solution for colleges who are experiencing staff shortages or who wish to transfer valuable teaching hours to other subject areas.


Giving tutors the time to focus on the learner

With an Online and On Campus course or apprenticeship, learners study high-quality online learning materials based on video lessons, with questions to check their understanding of every concept. They also meet regularly with a college tutor who guides them through the course.

This approach allows tutors to support their learners in unlocking more challenging subject areas, and spending more time working on exercises that are better suited for face-to-face class delivery rather than online.

“It makes my life a lot easier, it allows me to do what I enjoy and that’s working with the learners.”

Samantha Carnegie, Course Leader for Accounting and AAT Provision at Westminster Adult Education Service

In 2022, over 3,000 of our learners completed more than 2.5 million questions on our platforms, all of which had correct and incorrect feedback to help at the point of learning. Data from each cohort is available to tutors to access on demand, or via a regular weekly report. This allows them to see how and where learners are progressing, and enables them to plan their on campus sessions to match the needs of that particular cohort, or even for individual learners within the class.

“Instead of standing there talking to the students, Mindful Education is doing that with the videos, and when you come in [to class] you are doing more active learning. So we are not tutors anymore, we are facilitators. The advantage is you have less time teaching, and more time working together.”

Eve Jones, AAT Lecturer at BMet

Two years ago we moved to an unlimited tutor support model and also launched bespoke tutor training sessions on our VLEs for our partner tutors. We aim to continue to enhance our tutor support; in June, we launched our Partner Hub, which is a new platform encompassing all of our extended tutor support in one place.

Kelly Warrick, Head of Accounting Delivery at Mindful Education said ‘We know how hard AAT tutors work to help their students and ensure that they thrive throughout their studies, so we are always looking at new and better ways that we can support them’.

Please email partnerships@mindful-education.co.uk to find out how we can support your team to deliver professional blended qualifications.

Posted on: 14 August 2023

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