Skip navigation

Staff Room

City of Bath College BTEC ND Business

In March 09, Chris Dodd, Learning Coordinator for Business at City of Bath College came to the University of Bath to meet Richard Karmm, the Director of Studies for BA Hons Business Administration.  The visit included an opportunity to sit in on a law lecture delivered by Janet Wilson-Ward which is part of the first year Business Administration programme. 

The day was part of the WVLLN’s series of level 3 tutor visits to regional universities which are aimed at developing greater communication between FE and HE staff and thereby facilitating the decision-making process of vocational learners on progression issues.

After the visit Chris Dodd and I reflected on the benefits of the day...

Ruth: It seems one of the best ways of helping vocational learners to be better informed about the application process is to build relationships between FE and HE staff...

Chris: Yes, this has been a real insight for me .... in terms of it being bit of a marker of the standard of where we need to be working with students.  It’s really interesting, there are so many opportunities here that many of my learners would really appreciate and some would really thrive in this type of environment.  It’s given me huge food for thought in terms of our second year National Diploma students from September, and what we do in terms of the overall tutoring programme and the UCAS application process.

Many of our students have high aspirations and by working with admissions tutors it gives us a greater idea of what universities like this are looking for.  This is a new concept – when I was applying to university you just filled in your form, sent it off and hoped for the best!  Links with academic staff give us some fantastic insights which really help us to advise our students.

As a result of today’s visit I can see that in terms of our own curriculum management we need to think about the provision we’re offering – we need to decide whether we expand it or change it in relation to  the lifelong opportunities which are out there. We need to consider the potential benefits of students being able to access a mix of elements from BTEC national programmes and A levels in different subject areas.  In some cases this could be of great benefit.

Ruth: In terms of curriculum, I guess that the idea of the new 14-19 Diploma is based on there being more links between FE, HE and schools, and personal contacts are the key to it really, aren’t they?

Chris: Yes definitely, they are very important in terms of breaking down barriers.  We are all here to support people and provide a service to learners, so we need to work more closely together rather than in isolation.   For students, two years on a National Diploma flies by and before you know it they’re considering what the next step is.

At the college we’re always striving for excellence. If our learners could move, in time, to an institution like Bath, where the learning environment is absolutely fantastic, then that would be brilliant.  

Ruth:  Today, the Business Administration lecturer we met, Janet Wilson-Ward, suggested she’d be happy to get involved in the panel for your business plan assessment on the National Diploma course. Those kind of links between university academics and level 3 vocational courses are great because they also provide academics with an insight into the type of learning activities going on in colleges.

Chris: Yes, it has to be a two way thing. I’ve learnt an awful lot today in terms of what’s delivered here.  This visit has given me a chance to find out what the links are between the Business Administration course here and our courses – I knew they did Business Administration here, but this is the first chance I’ve had to find out what the links are.  For example, in semester one here they have a unit called People and Organisations.  My learners will be doing that at level 3 at around the same time, so it’d be a fantastic opportunity for them to come and find out what it’d be like studying that subject area at a higher level – it would be something they could really relate to.

Hopefully, with this type of relationship between institutions, students would have the opportunity to come and find out more about what it’s like at university and maybe sit in on a lecture.  That kind of experience will give them a chance to pick up on the culture of the place.  Some students will think it’s fantastic and other students may not, but it’s better to find out at and early stage rather than later down the line.

Ruth: I think that’s the important thing about visits to campus by students and staff – they’re not just about progression opportunities at Bath, but are about opportunities at higher education in general – the visits can raise lots of issues and spark off lots of questions...

Chris: That’s it, I have to be fair to my learners – I want them to get a broad range of views rather than just think there’s only one option.  For some of them, they might visit any university and realise that it’s not for them – it’s not just about academic learning it’s about personal learning and for some they’ll look at alternative routes or come back to education at a later stage when they’re older