Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Learning for the Twenty-First Century: Perspectives on the Diploma in Business, Administration and Finance

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Learning for the Twenty-First Century: Perspectives on the Diploma in Business, Administration and Finance

Article excerpt

Three contributors tell us about the nature of the course, their approaches to teaching and their own personal experience with the course.

THE OVERVIEW

The diploma fulfils many needs of the twenty-first century learner. It is a composite qualification that enables students to build up a profile of all their skills, knowledge and abilities. These include knowledge in the principal learning area, functional skills in maths, English and IT, and personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS), the soft skills that employers value. In addition, the project develops the independent research abilities needed for success at university. The additional or specialist option is chosen from a wide range of qualifications and awarding bodies,

The diploma is the first qualification to contain content that has been determined by business people. The Diploma Development Partnerships include employers who have identified the skills that a young person requires on entering a profession. For example the Business, Administration and Finance (BAF) Diploma includes an understanding of corporate social responsibility and personal finance.

Learning on the diploma courses has an applied focus. Learners have access to employers and to transferable skills that they can apply to all areas of their learning. This makes learning relevant and engaging, and it enhances motivation. From foundation learning to Level 3 there are clear progression routes for all learners. The flexibility of the qualification means that learners can move between diploma lines or into general qualifications, apprenticeships or university.

The Diploma Aggregation Service means that as soon as the learner has built up enough composite qualifications the diploma can be awarded at any time of the young person's life. The additional specialist learning means that "anytime, anywhere" learning could contribute to the qualification.

At age 14 there is a wide choice. Young people have access to all 17 diplomas, general qualifications and apprenticeships, providing accessio work-based learning and colleges as well as learning in school. Diplomas are delivered by consortia of schools, colleges and work-based learning providers. Staff in schools and colleges are sharing their resources and knowledge for the benefit of all young people in their local area,

Diane Lloyd is senior lecturer in applied learning at John Moores University.

TEACHING THE BAF DIPLOMA IN CHESHIRE

In the Wirral in Cheshire, there are many small and medium-sized organisations and very few large national employers. Although there are large employers nearby in the Liverpool area, we wanted our learning environment to reflect the immediate working environment in which many of our learners would eventually be employed. Initially we looked to involve large employers within the diploma model, and we recruited Scottish Power and General Motors. But quite quickly we decided that we should be recruiting employers from among the local SMEs. The issues we faced included how to engage employers, how to create an engaging learning environment and how to structure the content in an interesting and appealing fashion.

Engaging with employers

We needed a strategy to inform local employers about how they could provide learning opportunities for potential students. We held an employer launch event where Roy Jones from Scottish Power Learning talked to the employers about effective relationships with education establishments and outlined some of the possible pitfalls, With local authority representatives, I outlined the BAF Diploma, and we provided a sit-down meal to allow for networking opportunities. This was successful but it didn't get the numbers we required. So we set up an "inside the workplace" event, and links were made with the local chambers of commerce, which enhanced the willingness of local businesses to become involved.

In these ways we have been able to create a directory of local employers who we can call upon to provide the activities we use to deliver the applied learning. …

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