Dudley College has become the first college in the West Midlands to be awarded STEM Assured status, and is now one of only 19 prestigious colleges in the UK recognised by NEF: The Innovation Institute.
Acknowledged as one of the UK’s top science and technology educators, the STEM Assured standard is awarded to institutions with advanced capability to support the needs of business and industry through specialist teaching and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
This UK-wide quality standard is recognised by the Government (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES) and The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS); accordingly, it is the only standard that assures the quality of vocational STEM provision.
NEF CEO, Professor Sa’ad Medhat said: “We are delighted to be able to award Dudley College with this prestigious award. Gaining the STEM Assured status signals to employers that Dudley College has strong and up to date STEM capability. This will undoubtedly enhance Dudley College’s already well-established employer engagement. “
STEM Assured status required the college to be assessed by an external validation panel which looked for evidence that the college fostered a high level of consistency in the quality of STEM education and training and demonstrated that it increased learners’ interest in STEM subjects through visible employment prospects.
The external validation panel commented: “It is clear that Dudley College is pro-active and strategic in developing STEM education and training. The college is very outward looking – and is strongly engaged and responsive to its external environment.”
Although the STEM Assured status is a college-wide accreditation, there is a particular focus on STEM provision at Dudley Advance, the new Centre for Advance Manufacturing and Engineering Technology due to opens this Autumn. The £8 million centre will provide engineering giants, supply chains and smaller manufacturers with the high-level engineering and manufacturing skills their current and future workforces require.
Dudley Advance students will need to be adept across all the STEM subject areas to enhance their training experience and give them the academic foundation they need to be the next generation of engineering experts and manufacturing specialists, so the Black Country can continue to be competitive and proud of its talent across the region.
Lowell Williams, Principal at Dudley College said “Gaining STEM Assured is an important achievement for us. The standard highlights our current performance of STEM provision and recognises how these vitally important subjects will be integrated into the college’s future plans and development.
“The preparation of our students for employment, by providing them with the training they need for a successful and sustainable career, is central to everything we do at Dudley College. Alongside this, we need to ensure our learners have the right knowledge and transferable skills to meet labour market needs. The additional of the STEM Assured status gives us a mark of recognition that industry and stakeholders recognise.”