One of the strategic priorities of our NLBC Strategy is to ‘Maximise digital and flexible learning opportunities’. NLBC aims to be the virtual college for the land based sector and our website is central to this. Our digital hub will act as the go-to-place for information and connections on land based skills development, for a wide range of audiences, including those:
- Considering land based as a career.
- Existing students looking for careers guidance and progression.
- Academic staff in the specialist colleges and universities.
- Employers seeking guidance on CPD opportunities for their staff.
- Employed in the sector wanting to develop their skills and career.
- Looking for a qualification or training course to study.
- People who want to know more about our sector.
Following on from our initial holding site that went live in mid-2016, this month we launched Phase 1 of our main website (www.nlbc.uk), which provides:
- Information about us: our mission, people, governance, strategy, partners and members.
- Links to our social media channels
- A Course Search Tool; for the qualifications delivered by our member colleges and universities across the UK.
- Careers Information: A portal to the best of the on-line careers information for the whole land based sector.
- Details on upcoming training courses and events, including links to the NFU skills page.
- Apprenticeships : details of the land based apprenticeships currently available and a portal to key information sites to find out more.
- Apprenticeship resources: including templates and guidance for providers wanting to deliver the new level 2 and 3 Arboriculture, Forestry & Horticulture Trailblazers.
- Links to those organisations with registers of training providers; City & Guilds (NPTC), Lantra and UK Rural Skills.
- An option to sign-up for our NLBC Registration Scheme.
We believe there is a need for a joined-up approach around careers, education, training and skills. As the ‘National College’, NLBC will link to all appropriate skills initiatives for our sector, and by doing this we will become the trusted place to go for information on skills development. We want organisations to provide us with appropriate information to include on the hub and, in return, we ask organisations to link to our website from theirs. Please contact us if you’d like to connect.
The NLBC Registration Scheme is now live and we are aiming that all those engaged in the land based sector will sign-up, especially those at the start of their careers, including students at the specialist colleges and universities. The incentives for individuals to register will increase and we are having a number of positive conversations with organisations who are keen to offer those who register (particularly the students) more opportunities and benefits. The aim is to have a well developed package for the start of the September 2017 academic year.
The NLBC website is being developed further, led by our Digital Manager, Luke Harmer. Planned additions over coming months will include:
- Information on how employers and industry can get more actively involved with NLBC, including joining our Industry Skills Groups and Council.
- A ‘Learning Hub’ where we will point to existing on-line learning resources for the land based sector and to our own NLBC endorsed platform and resources.
- A portal to more information on land based skills.
- More detail on and benefits of signing up to the NLBC Registration Scheme.
Our digital hub aims to support the delivery of the Government’s Post-16 Skills Plan, by provision of information on careers and skills development for the entire route of ‘Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care’. With the Post-16 Skills Plan in mind, we are delighted by the appointment of Richard Self as Chair of the Employer Panel for ‘Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care’ by the new Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA). This panel will have a major influence on the future apprenticeships and training in our sector and Richard has an excellent background for this role, as a farmer, lecturer, manager of apprenticeships and deliverer of careers provision in the land based sector. Key now will be the recruitment of his panel and ensuring the right people to represent our broad and diverse sector are around the table.
Finally, this month (and retaining the digital theme!) We’d like to highlight the excellent new website from the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH), which has a really fresh look & feel and lots of useful information. It’s great to see that the site is now combined with the Grow Careers initiative website.