A report from York Consulting LLP explores the critical role of Industry Associates in supporting Further Education (FE) teaching in England. The study not only highlights the benefits of employer involvement but also calls for a more structured and collaborative approach.
Industry Associates are employed in industry, and also contribute in a range of ways to FE teaching. In 2023, the Gatsby Foundation commissioned York Consulting LLP (YCL) to investigate the extent of Industry Associates' involvement in FE. This exploration included a literature review and interviews with Industry Associates, offering a comprehensive view of their engagement.
Industry Associates contribute to FE in various capacities, including content design, assessment development, and direct teaching. Their diverse backgrounds bring a rich tapestry of real-world and up to date experience to the educational setting. And the benefits to both parties are clear, with Industry Associates and their employers often motivated by corporate social responsibility, personal professional development, and the importance of supporting the development of their future workforce.
However, the research indicated a need for structured training and support for Industry Associates, particularly those without formal teaching qualifications. The report recommends that policymakers consider development of training programmes that equip Industry Associates with the necessary pedagogical skills to enhance their effectiveness in FE settings.
There is an emerging need to further assist employers in enabling their staff to assume these roles effectively. Ensuring that Industry Associates are adequately prepared and confident in their role would support the ongoing development and efficacy of the FE curriculum.
A summary report of the findings is available here.