Monthly Archives: December 2015

Swarm all over apprenticeships
this festive season!

 

We think there is a new energy abroad in education and training, sweeping the landscape to create new opportunities and outcome for a range of young people. Discover a couple of examples of this new delivery below…the horizon may have just go a bit nearer for young people who don’t seem to quite ‘fit the traditional bill’.

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Robert Ashton FRSA drives forward his Swarm Apprenticeships, in conjunction with Chris Perry, to deliver a new sort of enterprise encouragement and training.

Swarm can offer young people Level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeship framework options, with the added zest of ‘…innovative enterprise training workshops which develop the mindset and commercial awareness of apprentices’.

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You can discover a comprehensive list of the integrated Swarm developmental workshops here. This impressive cast list is designed to sensitise and energise apprentices into an entrepreneurial, developmental and goals achieving mindset.

The Swarm team’s key focus qualification is the Level 3 Diploma in Enterprising Skills in a Business Environment, although the company does offer other opportunities too.

What we liked most is how this entrepreneurial flavour and admixture is seamlessly blended into the training programme for the individual, combining both the needs of the apprentice to perform well to his or her employer’s satisfaction, whilst at the same time creating the building blocks for a mind-changing mentality about what it is possible to achieve.

You can see how the next generation of mainstream Oxbridge business and political leaders are seeking to develop a social good from their careers, for example, in the 80,000 Hours programme. This Ashton led initiative caters for bright young people, we think, who may have fallen through the educational cracks or who are seeking a very practical, resource driven approach to learning and skills uptake to the benefit of business, society and the individual.

We highly commend the Swarm Apprenticeship approach to our readers. See more here.

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The second tranche of new activity that seems to be stirring in the East is the nascent Careers and Enterprise Company. This national umbrella movement, itself sheltering under the wing of Local Enterprise Partnerships for its delivery, is beginning to recruit Enterprise Advisers across Norfolk and Suffolk.

This new, innovative scheme seeks to engage schools and suitably qualified businesses in a new form of partnership, where the school benefits from the insights and experience of the employer in a ‘… network to create powerful, lasting connections between local businesses and the schools and colleges in an area‘.

It is an idea designed to see businesses helping school senior management teams to develop strategies which link the world of work to the curriculum and energetic adaptability of schools, maximising their local contacts and accelerating the context of their educational outcomes to the benefit of both pupils and employers.

Lord Young has described the Adviser role in this way…

I propose that Enterprise Advisers would advise head teachers and teachers on the ways employers can engage with the school, drawing on advice from key local partners, including those that offer careers advice. I would envisage that the Advisers are drawn from all sectors of the economy and not only restricted to entrepreneurs‘.

Whatever your sector or size of organisation, if you believe in the programme of connecting schools and enterprise, then a visit to the Careers and Enterprise Company web site will reap rewards, we are sure.

Connections and conclusions:

teachinggroupIcon6-copyHere at conversationsEAST we are keen to support changes in the educational landscape. We sponsor the Inequality in Education movement and tender them a web presence, and are establishing a Cambridge group to make the IETT a nationwide intitiative.

Similarly, we know that Fellows, like Robert Ashton and others are actively working with schools in the East of England too.

What we would argue for is a synergetic relationship between all these programmes of work, where employer recruitment, in the Ashton/Swarm model is also part of the options for employers in the Enterprise Adviser network, for example.

The one is not designed to swamp the other, but to add a richer texture to the offer of all. RSA Fellows can also add a powerful contribution to the development of the Enterprise Adviser network too, we are sure.

In simple marketing and recruitment terms, if I’m building a trusted network or list of individuals dedicated to social good, then lets share some of that trust and fellowship with others in the public sector, striving for the same aim.

Now that would be a Happy New Year!

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Making Space for people and technology

Benedict Dellot of The RSA has recently authored a new report on the growing phenomenom of Maker Spaces. There’s one near you…did you know?

The report defines MakerSpaces as ‘…open access workshops, hosting a variety of tools, from 3D printers and laser cutters through to sewing machines and soldering irons’.

These unique spaces attract hackers, roboticists, traditional engineering and technical enthusiasts, along with a variety of arts and craft specialists. There is something of a William Morris, Arts and Crafts revolutionary aspect to their public face. Offering as they do, spaces for making and experimentation in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.

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See more here…pdf

Morris would have it that you should ‘…have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. Perhaps in the 21st Century, in a MakerSpace context, their motto should be ‘…beautiful, useful and technically collaborative’. (…great sign over every MakerSpace door?…Ed.)

As part of the RSA report (Ours to Master…)a survey finds that people, when asked, express an interest in Maker philosophy and practice, and would be interested in accessing such facilities. The survey found…

  • 26 percent of people regularly make things for their own use, 49 percent fix things that are broken and 21 percent modify products to better suit their own needs
  • 57 percent would like to learn how to make more things they and their families could use
  • 61 percent would like to have a better understanding of how the things they use work
  • 78 percent think our society is too materialistic and our economy too dependent on consumption
  • 43 percent often feel confused by the pace of technological change and struggle to keep up
  • 24 percent would be interested in using a makerspace in the future

You can read more about MakerSpaces on the pages of The RSA. here. (The report is freely accessible to all).

Maker Spaces in the East of England?

Ipswich Makerspace:

‘Ipswich Makerspace is a Suffolk based group of like minded makers who get together to learn, build and experiment with a huge variety of hardware, software, and technology in general’.      (Source: Ipswich Makerspace, December 2015)   See more here.

Chelmsford Makerspace:

‘Chelmsford Makerspace is a non-profit, community of makers in Chelmsford. We are a group of makers and hackers that get together to share tools and knowledge’. (Source: Chelmsford Makerspace, December 2015). See more here…

Colchester Makerspace:

‘We are developing a maker workshop offering affordable access to basic equipment such as workbenches, pillar drills, soldering irons, sewing machines and saws etc’. (Source: Colchester Makerspace, December 2015). See more here…

Cambridge Makespace:

‘Makespace is a community workshop in Cambridge for making and fixing things, meeting people, working on projects and sharing skills’. (Source: Cambridge Makespace, Decembre 2015). See more here…

Hitchin Hackspace:

‘Hitchin Hackspace is a community organisation devoted to providing everyone with a place to explore all kinds of creative technologies and crafts’. (Source: Hitchin Hacspace, December 2015). See more here…


Thank you to Benedict Dellot for another interesting and cutting edge report. It is interesting to see old concepts of craft and sharing being developed in contemporary communities, to deliver accessible, technology related products and learning. ‘Social engineering’ in its purest form perhaps?

We are surprised, in our brief survey of MakerSpaces in the East, to find no representative group for Norwich. If you know of one, use our contact form and let us know. We’ll run a supplementary piece to spread the word about them, if we missed an opportunity to do so here. Happy making! Ed.

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