[Press and Publications] University of Leicester Wins Approval for Innovative Degree Programmes [Vocational Courses]



November 2000

No 206

New vocational courses first for East Midlands

The University of Leicester has today received the go-ahead to pioneer a new type of vocational degree course - becoming the first institution in the East Midlands to offer this opportunity.

The Government has approved a total of 40 new Foundation Degree courses in England with 2,000 additional places next autumn for student pioneers wishing to enrol on the courses designed to equip people for tomorrow’s jobs market.

The new vocationally-oriented qualifications will be delivered in two years (or a part-time equivalent) and are designed to attract students from a wide range of backgrounds. The foundation degree will equip students with the technical skills, academic knowledge and transferable skills that employers increasingly demand in a range of sectors, including health care, education, information technology and e-business, property and construction, and chemical technology.

These programmes will also provide a route to an honours degree, immediately after the foundation degree or after a period of employment. Foundation degree graduates will be able to complete an honours degree with an additional 1-1.3 years of study.

The University of Leicester has won approval for the delivery of two courses:

  • A Foundation Degree course for Classroom Assistants with an intake of 60 students next year. The University of Leicester has teamed up with Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln, Wigston College, Leicester and Franklin College, Grimsby, and four LEAs to deliver the programme.
  • A Foundation Degree in Security and Risk Management, allowing access to the programme throughout England. The security industry has experienced significant growth in employment levels in recent years and the Foundation Degree programme offered through the University’s Scarman Centre, in collaboration with the Security Industries Training Organisation, will provide a bridge between existing vocational programmes and higher-level academic study.

    Professor Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “This is a splendid opportunity for staff and students in the University of Leicester to be involved in innovative programmes.

    “The development of Foundation Degrees complements the work the University already does in vocational areas and in which it has considerable expertise.” Academic Registrar Kathy Williams said: “The University of Leicester has a wealth of experience and high expertise to support the delivery of these innovative programmes. We are delighted to have had Government backing for these courses which will increase the opportunities available to people to gain qualifications that employers value. They will equip people with the skills needed for the 21st century.”

    NOTES TO NEWSDESKS:

    The key features of foundation degrees are:

  • A consortia-based approach in which HEIs, further education colleges and employers develop the programmes,
  • Programmes designed to meet the needs of identifiable skills in a particular sector or occupation. Each programme should deliver a mix of academic knowledge, specific or technical skills, and key generic skills that are appropriate to the sector,
  • A work-based learning element, relevant to the programme,
  • Flexible and innovative teaching, to suit students’ circumstances - many courses will be part-time, often delivered at local colleges, and will include web-based and distance learning,
  • Guaranteed opportunities to progress to an honours degree.
  • The courses to be launched in 2001-02 will be offered as prototypes.
  • Development and progress will be supported by a team that will identify and disseminate good practice emerging from the prototypes among the existing providers and others wishing to be involved.
  • The DfEE will run a national promotional campaign for the qualification to coincide with the recruitment of potential students for 2001-02.
  • Foundation degrees were announced by David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education and Employment on 15 February 2000.
  • The HEFCE received 56 bids from consortia, requesting a total of £16.5 million in development funds and 7,800 additional student places. A panel drawn from the FDG and the Council narrowed down the applications to 21. The successful bids total £5 million in development funds, and 2,000 additional student places.

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    Last updated: 01 December 2000 16:22
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