Experience as a Freelance Consultant
Project Manager - East Midlands Public Sector Compacts Project
From November 2006 until the end of March 2007, I was the nominated Project Manager working on the LLUK Project to establish ‘Public Sector Compacts’ in four of the counties in the East Midlands.
Lifelong Learning UK have supported an initiative to bring together employers from the public services across the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire & Rutland and Northamptonshire to form skills compacts. Following successful Launch Events in January 2007, key stakeholders within the public sector have formed a Public Sector Compact in their county. Each will now draw on best practice from the Leicestershire model, but will be unique based upon the distinct characteristics of each county. These compacts have brought together a range of public sector employers to discuss relevant issues.
The Steering Groups in each county are addressing areas of common concern with respect to workforce issues. These include leadership and management, recruitment and retention or workforce development. This initiative is has been developed by LLUK and funded by the LSC with support from other Sector Skills Councils working in the public sector.
Working on behalf of LLUK, I was instrumental in making all of the above happen. The project has been acknowledged as successful with the key aspect of sustainability having clearly been achieved. The ‘deliverables’ for this project were considered to be challenging by both LSC and LLUK colleagues. All the outputs were achieved and the project was delivered on time and within budget.
Regional Lead Facilitator – Skills for Life Quality Initiative – East Midlands
From July 2004 until August 2006 I worked on behalf of CfBT as the Regional Quaility Initiative Manager for the Skills for Life Quality Initiative (SfLQI) in the East Midlands. The SfLQI was structured around the twin aims of (i) building a whole-organisation approach to Skills for Life development to ensure the entire organisation takes a responsibility for Skills for Life and (ii) ensuring the professionalism of the Skills for Life workforce.
The role has entailed acting as the main contact for the SfLQI in the region. Working closely with colleagues in the local LSC network, the main FE and ACL providers and with other major stakeholders (e.g. The Voluntary and Community sector, Prisons, the Probation Service, Local Government, learndirect, work based learning providers and Job Centre Plus Contract Holders) I sought to implement the twin aims of the SfLQI.
Within the lifetime of the initiative over 2000 members of staff in the East Midlands participated in relevant training provided by the SfLQI and over 350 providers were assisted by external support provided by 34 SfLQI facilitators. The Initiative has been hailed as a success in the East Midlands with the region being recognised in 2005 as one of two regions that have made ‘outstanding progress’. My major contribution has been to effectively manage a team of experienced professional facilitators to help the SfLQI to achieve the two main aims in the East Midlands.
Quality Development Consultant –Empedeocles Project – Cambridge
From April 2005 until the December 2006 I worked on behalf of the Employment Foundation Scheme (EFS) of Cambridge City Council as the Quality Development Consultant on the Empedeocles Project. Empedeocles is a ‘capacity building’ initiative to help the voluntary and community sector in Cambridgeshire play a more active role in providing formal education and training opportunities for the sector’s service users. The stated goal was to help organisations ‘deliver a contract’. To do this they must have various quality procedures in place. Specifically I have supported the production for each beneficiary organisation of (i) a training needs analysis; (ii) a continuing professional development plan; (iii) policies and procedures (including a ‘Skills for Life’ Policy); (iv) an organisational development plan; (v) set of organisational performance targets and (vi) a self assessment reporting schedule. The project has been recognised as a resounding success and both my client (EFS) and the organisations that I have supported directly have been impressed with the rigour that has been imposed on the process. Successes achieved have included four voluntary and community organisations achieving Matrix accreditation, a number of organisations achieving centre approval from awarding bodies and some organisations securing LSC funded contracts to deliver training.
Support for Inspection Preparation
From September 2005 to July 2006 I supported two provider organisations (Cambridge and Peterborough Learning Trust and ‘Speaking Up’) based in Cambridgeshire with their preparations for a forthcoming ALI inspection. In both cases these organisations were young and as a consequence their quality assurance systems were immature. With my support both organisations have established a robust QA cycle. They have both produced their first Self Assessment Reports and have established appropriate arrangements to monitor and evaluate the quality of teaching and learning. Both organisations were inspected in November 2006 and both achieved a positive outcome.
Contribution to the work of the Learning and Skills Network (LSN)
In June 2003, I was accepted on to the register of the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) consultants. The LSDA was contracted to provide consultancy support for the Success for All initiative. Following a selection process, I also become part of a specialist team within the LSDA providing specialist support for change management projects.
The LSDA has become the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) and I have retained my status as a registered consultant. In 2005 I took on assignment to review the initial assessment arrangements at an FE college in Suffolk. My recommendations were adopted and the college feel they have made considerable progress as a result of my support.