A qualification linking industry with schools took the chequered flag for victory at last week’s inaugural FAB awards night (October 22) to complete a great evening for the specialist awarding body for industry, EAL.

EAL’s Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Engineering Technology, mapped to F1 in schools activities, picked up the qualification of the year at the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) first annual award ceremony.

It came as Carolyn Barker, EAL’s Head of Governance and Regulation was elected to the FAB Board as a director.

“Winning the award is fantastic recognition of the team’s hard work in developing the qualification and its innovative links with F1 in Schools,” said Carolyn. “It is a new qualification so to pick up this award is a real boost for us."

“I am also really delighted to have been elected by the FAB membership as a Director of the Board. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and in widening my liaison with key stakeholders.  We have the opportunity to work more closely with employers, regulators and other government departments and agencies to ensure sufficiently robust qualifications and skills development are achieved through high quality vocational education and training which remains at the heart of the skills agenda.”

The F1 in Schools Technology Challenge provides an exciting yet challenging educational experience through the magnetic appeal of Formula One. Teams of learners aged 9 to 19 deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered polyurethane based F1 cars.

The challenge inspires learners to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

FAB’s chief executive Stephen Wright said: “"The EAL entry had everything we could have wished for. Engineering is a key sector for the success of the whole economy however, research from the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that by 2020 we will need more than a million new engineers and technicians. The Level 1 Foundation Certificate is just the sort of qualification that can help close the skills gap, plugging into the F1 in Schools competition to introduce 15 to 18 year olds to the basic principles of engineering in an engaging and inspiring way with a combination of practical workshops and theory sessions. A well designed qualification in a key sector makes it a very worthy FAB qualification of the year winner."

"I am delighted that Carolyn is joining the board at a time when we particularly need her strategic skills to help address the imminent changes to both funding and regulation. I anticipate her governance and compliance knowledge will play a key role in our discussions with the various government agencies, particularly Ofqual and SFA. We all look forward to working with her."

EAL’s Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Engineering Technology has three optional units (Introduction to Computer Aided Drawing (CAD), Introduction to Computer Aided Machining (CAM) and Introduction to Engineering project planning) mapped to F1 in Schools activities, helping learners achieve the qualification through activities that would otherwise not be officially recognised.

It is part of EAL’s new suite of KS4 & KS5 qualifications, designed by industry experts to provide young people aged 14-19 with a seamless progression path from school to apprenticeships and industry careers.
In addition, all EAL's KS4 qualifications will count towards the Department for Education’s Progress 8 measure, designed to encourage schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum at KS4, and reward schools for the teaching of all their pupils.

The new qualifications are:

  • reported in the 2017 Performance Tables and contribute to the ‘schools’ league tables
  • future-proofed meaning no changes need to be made and no added work for EAL Centres, whilst other awarding organisations may need to rewrite their qualifications in 2016 to match them to the new DfE requirements
  • supported by innovative interactive materials
  • recognised by employers, providers and professional engineering institutions including the Engineering Council, NICEIC and Society of Operations Engineers
  • eligible for SFA funding.

Carolyn Barker joined EAL, in 2006 and since joining has held a number of roles in governance prior to taking up the role as Regulatory Responsible Officer and Head of Governance & Regulation.

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