Simplification of the field of education
Vicky Sylvester, founder and CEO of leading education training provider, Acacia Training, discusses why the education sector needs to be simplified.
Each sector comes with its own book in the languages of the industry, often official and unofficial. Only in the education sector can we use various terms and abbreviations that seem commonplace to us, but for those who are not familiar, trying to decipher them can be confusing or even alienating.
As the training and education sector continues to evolve, language continues to evolve. Terms including SLA (Service Level Agreement), ELC (Early Learning Credit) and AEB (Adult Education Budget) are everyday buzzwords for those well versed in the sector, but those coming to study or those who want to educate or offer education may find it overwhelming to understand; especially if they haven’t studied since school.
For courses and training in certain areas, including health and social care, the terminology can become even more complex due to the scientific nature of the field. What should be simple to understand can become complex and difficult to process, and language can become a barrier to access education.
Access to education has become difficult to decipher
For those who want to learn, the process of education should be simple. Researching a course provider, choosing the right program or course of study, accessing funding and then enrolling on a course should be the route to qualification. However, it is not always so simple.
Changes in language and domain, especially in areas such as healthcare, can also become challenging. Even access to funding to support your studies is constantly changing and it can be difficult to know where to turn as bursaries, bursaries, funding and finance are all options to consider.
Also, understanding whether qualifications and experience are a good fit can be another hurdle, and if it’s been a while since attending a school, students’ qualifications may seem out of date. For example, the old scoring system for GCSEs can be difficult to compare with the new system and then to understand.
All of these factors make it difficult to attract, train and retain skilled workers in sectors including health, social care, early childhood education and even in areas such as digital, beauty and hospitality. With potential talent finding it difficult to access training, this means the education sector will end up seeing fewer learners and fewer people attending courses and training. This can have a negative impact on sectors that often struggle for skilled workers and trained professionals in their field.
Barriers to education prevent learners from accessing education
Addressing disadvantage is key to ensuring learners start their education and gain the qualifications they need to take the next step in their careers.
For employers looking to hire, an understanding of terminology is still essential. For those working in sectors such as health or social care, it can be many years since they have studied and trained themselves. As curricula and career paths evolve, this can mean that employers are offered unfamiliar qualifications, studies and even experience; which may still be relevant to subjects and learning.
Education and training should be simpler, but more importantly, they should be more accessible.
The future of the education sector
Without barriers to education, access to more qualifications and development would be infinitely easier. For those already working in high-need sectors such as health and social care, this can mean access to additional qualifications for upskilling or further specializations which can then benefit the sector.
As a result of opening up education, more learners will choose education, and for employers this can mean a highly skilled and trained workforce that can put their knowledge into practice.
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