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    Education Partnership North East is supporting its employees to develop their professional skills and knowledge in new and innovative ways, which will help to shape the future of the organisation and develop the talents of its diverse workforce.

    The college group, which includes Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form and Northumberland College, is launching a virtual professional development centre for its 950 staff members across the North East.  

    Underpinned by a new professional development framework, the centre will provide a vital resource for accessible and individually tailored professional development, which will enable its staff to learn and thrive and become experts in their field.  

    Lynne Henderson, who recently joined the college group as Learning and Development Business Partner, explains: 

    “Now more than ever it’s important to move to a more digital way of working, and our new virtual professional development centre will provide staff with the tools to tailor professional development to their individual requirements.  

    “Following consultation with staff, we are putting professional development back into the hands of the professionals. Staff will be able to take ownership of their development needs and will be encouraged and supported to embrace new technology to excel and achieve their career goals. 

    “Our people are our most valuable assets and allowing staff to engage in new ways of professional development will help to grow and evolve the college and ensure our staff continue to provide an outstanding learning experience to our students.” 

    The innovative approach will provide blended learning opportunities to maximise staff engagement and minimise barriers to learning. The framework, called Enabling Excellence, has been aligned to the values and strategic goals of the organisation and is underpinned by professional standards for the diverse range of professions that are employed throughout the college group.  

    Enabling Excellence is just one element of learning and development provided by the college. It works alongside an induction programme – An Excellent Start – and mandatory training – Essentials for Excellence – to develop highly skilled and knowledgeable staff. 

    Lynne continues: 

    “The professional values of the college group are at the heart of our new approach, setting clear expectations and supporting staff to live our values every day. 

    “We are changing the mindset of what professional development is perceived as: It’s a continual process that happens every day that’s both formal and informal. It’s not necessarily about learning on a training course in a classroom environment, it’s about continually learning on-the-job, being passionate about learning and embracing everyday opportunities to develop and grow.” 

    “We are excited to be investing in the individual talents of our people, creating a learner-centred approach to staff development and empowering staff to be the best they can be.” 

    The new professional development framework will be initially launched to teaching staff across the college group in September 2020, with a leadership and management framework following in 2021, and a framework for support staff in the next academic year. 

    Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

    Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

    Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

    (Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

    Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

    98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19