Hull College made a resounding impact at this year's Further Education Partnership Network (FEPN) Conference, held at Horwood House, Milton Keynes, on Tuesday 3rd October and Wednesday 4th October.
The inaugural event, which provided a platform for education leaders and innovators to share valuable insights that can make a real impact on the educational landscape, was marked by insightful discussions and thought-provoking keynotes. Hull College’s strong presence at the event - with Debra Gray MBE, Deb Millar, and Lynette Leith all included among the guest speakers - showcased its commitment to addressing the pressing challenges in the education sector.
The first day of the conference saw Executive Director of Digital Transformation, Deb Millar, captivate the audience with her insightful keynote address on ‘Teaching the skills needed for the future world of work’. She delved into the critical issue of the skills gap in further education, particularly focusing on how teachers can better prepare students for the ever-evolving world of work.
As the job market continues to undergo unprecedented changes, Millar emphasised the need for educational institutions to impart both transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration, and technical skills in high-demand fields. She highlighted the necessity for educators to embrace innovative teaching methods, including project-based and experimental learning, to equip students for the dynamic job market.
Millar also lent her expertise to a thought-provoking panel discussion titled ‘Should we be fearful of the potential of AI?’ The discussion, featuring experts in the field, explored the benefits and challenges posed by AI tools such as ChatGPT. The panel considered the impact of AI on student engagement, retention, and academic performance, as well as the best practices for managing the increasing usage of enhanced education tools, including academic integrity policies and technological aids.
Wednesday saw Hull College's Principal & CEO, Debra Gray MBE, deliver a powerful keynote address titled 'Keeping up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.' Gray highlighted the profound impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the modern workplace and the necessary skill sets for success. She emphasised the challenges faced by the further education sector in keeping pace with this rapid transformation and shared insights into fostering a culture of innovation, including technology integration and real-world experiences in the curriculum.
Reflecting on her experience at the two-day conference, Gray said: “It was an incredible experience to share our insights at the FEPN Conference and to witness Hull College's strong representation at this event. We are proud to be recognised for our work in curriculum development, and it's a testament to the dedication of our staff.
“The conference provided a platform to exchange ideas and best practices. It's crucial for educators to come together and collaborate on addressing the challenges in education, especially in the face of rapid technological change. We must embrace innovative approaches and ensure that we are preparing our students for the jobs of the future.”
She also highlighted the importance of Hull College's contributions, adding: “It's not just about our college, but the broader impact we can have on the sector. We are dedicated to ensuring that education remains relevant and effective for the workforce of tomorrow.”
The second day of the conference also saw Hull College’s Vice Principal Curriculum, Lynette Leith, lead a breakout session entitled 'Does your curriculum support the skills shortage?' In an ever-evolving economy, Leith explored the critical importance of ensuring that further education curricula align with the skills needed by employers, addressing the potential gap between the skills being taught and the skills demanded by the job market.
The FEPN Conference is a unique, two-day event designed to bring together senior leaders and transformational suppliers in the Further Education sector to connect, collaborate and learn around transformation and innovation. The conference agenda is thoughtfully curated to address the most relevant and emerging challenges in the sector.
Hull College's significant presence and contribution at the 2023 FEPN Conference reflect its commitment to excellence in education and its dedication to shaping the future of further education.