Changing Education: Empowering Educators With Digitalised Work Experience Programmes

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Stephen Hackney, Co-founder and Director Matthew Hodgkinson, Managing Director Roman Dibden, Head of Strategic Development and Innovation, Changing Education Stephen Hackney, Co-founder and Director Matthew Hodgkinson, Managing Director Roman Dibden, Head of Strategic Development and Innovation Amongst the many milestones of life, the transition from educators to the workplace is definitely the most memorable and probably the most nerve-racking. Lost in the complex procedures of applying for work-based learning programmes, it is quite common for students to feel overwhelmed. Which workplace is best suited for my skillset? How will I know which employer to pick? What are my career options? Such queries can trouble even the most diligent and prepared students, making the education-to-workplace transition challenging.

While educational institutions have been trying to eliminate these uncertainties and clear the educational-to-workplace path for students, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new challenge to the fore. Even when students get placed in the work-based learning programmes, they are unable to attend the programmes onsite owing to the pandemic safety restrictions.

As both educators and students seek an end-to-end solution that can solve their most pressing challenges, Changing Education—a revolutionary UK-based edtech company—comes to their rescue. By leveraging its cutting-edge platforms, Changing Education is not only digitalising and simplifying the work experience application process for students and employers alike but also facilitating a virtual medium for students to attend work experience programmes from their homes.

The company complements the national curriculum and student support programmes of schools and colleges with seamless technology, thus guiding the students through a far more effective path of starting their dream careers. “Our technology is not only aligned with the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) guidelines but also takes into account the nuanced requirements of educators as well as the students when mapping and managing their journey from the learning process to the first stages of their employment,” says Stephen Hackney, co-founder and director, Changing Education.

The Roots of Excellence

The beginnings of Changing Education can be traced back 14 years, when Stephen and his business partner had set up the company to bolster educational institutions with robust, end-to-end technology delivery. The founders envisioned the company to function via two exclusive but mutually collaborative arms—one specialising in technology and innovation and the other focused on service delivery, based on the challenges they faced while working in education.

Continuing the same approach, today, the company offers a robust software platform and mobile apps under its technology arm. Its ‘plug and play’ software products are designed to support educators, students, as well as employers in managing and tracking their work-based learning and careers programmes.

But, whenever clients need support in managing the technology or utilising it to augment their career programmes, they can always depend on Changing Education’s service delivery arm. Whether it is to deploy guidance programmes or career counselling through digital channels, the experts at Changing Education are always ready to provide the required support.

Our technology is not only aligned with the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) guidelines but also takes into account the nuanced requirements of educators as well as the students

Additionally, the company’s service delivery arm provides work-based learning, risk management, employer engagement, careers advice and guidance, among other advisory services.

Owing to these comprehensive offerings, over 100,000 educational institutions and business organisations from all across the UK and beyond have chosen Changing Education today as their technology partner of choice.

Connect (ing) the Education-to-Workplace Journey

Collaboration is the key to boosting productivity and efficiency in any setting, and education is no exception. However, achieving the highest level of collaboration means implementing seamless ‘collaboration pipelines’ between all stakeholders, be it students, educators, school coordinators, or employers. “By conducting market research and speaking to these stakeholders, we have mapped out the exact pain points that curb collaboration in the learning journey,” mentions Roman Dibden, head of strategic development and innovation, Changing Education. “Based on the findings, we have designed our Connect platform, which brings collaboration to the front and centre of the education system and counters the most common roadblocks in a student’s transition path from the school to the workplace.”

The Connect platform has received much acclaim as a trusted educational work experience and careers management platform in the UK and Australia. Responsive and easy-to-use, the platform is designed to assist educators and engage students. Educators, for instance, can rely on the platform to easily track the progress of each of their students, including their placement in companies. They can access any information they need from their digital devices, including analysing students’ growth and generating relevant reports. The platform also allows educators to send relevant feedback to students or submit recommendations to employers during placements.

The students, on the other hand, can use the platform to access a network of over 72,000 employers, from which they can choose the employer of choice for work experience opportunities. “Even amid pandemic restrictions, the students can avail work experience, thus maintaining an uninterrupted flow in their learning and career development journey,” notes Dibden. Additionally, the students can also access the student CV builder tool to format and submit their applications to various employers, whether it is for work experience or broader career opportunities.

Today, with Connect taking out all paperwork from the process and introducing extreme simplicity, more and more employers are getting onboard in providing work experience to the steadily increasing student base on the platform.

Guiding Clients to the Future of Tech- Driven Education

When implementing its technology, Changing Education takes every nuanced challenge and requirement of its clients into account. “We find out what the educational institutions are trying to achieve academically on behalf of their students,” states Matthew Hodgkinson, co-founder and managing director, Changing Education.

Along with clients’ individual specifications, the company also aligns the implementation of its solutions and services with the Gatsby Benchmarks—the eight guidelines that provide a clear framework for organising career programmes at schools and colleges. These benchmarks have been accepted as best practice by the government.
  • Even amid pandemic restrictions, the students can avail work experience, thus maintaining an uninterrupted flow in their learning and career development journey

Owing to the company’s meticulous onboarding approach, a multitude of clients have achieved stellar outcomes in their student career programmes. Hodgkinson particularly mentions an instance when Changing Education had collaborated with a college group. Having noticed the impact made by the company on thousands of students across the country, the college group sought Changing Education’s help in enhancing their work experience, work placement, and employer engagement programmes to ensure that they were meeting all the standards set by Ofsted before their scheduled inspection. When starting the engagement, however, Changing Education noticed that the client was heavily dependent on paper-based workflow, which made it difficult to track student progress or conduct proper risk assessments. So, the company first started with a consultation, which enabled the remapping of the college’s work placement, risk management, and employer engagement strategies. Once the staff and the students were onboard, the company then moved all the paper-based information to the Connect platform and facilitated a single source of data and reporting. As a result, the college—within no time—revamped its delivery model and digitalised its programmes. Ultimately, when Ofsted conducted the inspection, they were greeted with a centralised delivery model, where anyone in the college— student or staff—could access relevant information. Thus, the college group, which was once wary of the inspection, ended up impressing the inspection team.

Leading the Way into the Future of Education

This is but one of the many success stories that Changing Education has penned for its clients. In fact, when clients seek the help of Changing Education, they can rest assured that the company goes above and beyond to solve their specific problems. This can be attributed to the vibrant and innovative culture that the company has championed over the years. Almost every employee at Changing Education is well aware of the challenges of the education space, having personally encountered many of the roadblocks in their journey. Notably, many of them joined forces with the company to make a difference in the lives of students who are facing similar challenging situations in their path.

This motivation to revolutionise the edtech space will continue being the driving force behind Changing Education as it innovates its technology to keep up with the ever-changing education landscape. Particularly, the company will incorporate apprenticeship-focused offerings into its portfolio. This will allow employers and institutions to develop a collaborative network, making it easy for students to apply for apprenticeships. “The aim of Changing Education, in the end, is to be a guiding map for students and help them take the right step as they begin their careers,” concludes Hodgkinson.

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Top 5 EdTech Companies in UK - 2021
Changing Education

Changing Education

Crewe, UK

Stephen Hackney, Co-founder and Director Matthew Hodgkinson, Managing Director Roman Dibden, Head of Strategic Development and Innovation

Changing Education is an expert provider of the full solution to work experience, including Connect, the optimum software in work experience management. The company was created out of the passion for making a change in the way that young people were supported, from learning at school to eventually taking the steps to employment. Today, its goal is to complement a school’s national curriculum and student support programmes with high quality, effective work experience solutions that achieve the best outcomes for students. Everyone in the Changing Education team comes from an educational background and has a thorough knowledge base of Careers Advice and Guidance, Traineeship Programmes, Risk Assessments and Health and Safety