KFE News & Social Media
KFE in the news
KFE College EKC Group Achieves Ofsted Outstanding!
05 May 2023
EKC Group has been graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted following its latest inspection, with the education watchdog giving the Group top marks in every single category.
The results make EKC Group the first General Further Education college to achieve the highest rating in all categories since a new enhanced inspection framework was introduced last July. The categories that EKC Group achieved ‘Outstanding’ in are as follows: The Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development, Leadership and Management, Education Programmes for Young People, Adult Learning Programmes, Apprenticeships, Provision for Learners with High Needs and a ‘Strong’ judgement for Skills; the highest an organisation can achieve.
Read the full press release via the button above.
KFE Colleges SDF & LSIP Collaboration set to trail blaze
04 Dec 2022
KFE colleges are leading a trailblazing Kent skills partnership, which is ready to deliver an ambitious skills accelerator programme with new courses and learning centres launching in 2023.
Further education providers across Kent and Medway will come together early next year for the launch of four exciting and innovative business focused learning centres to support the region’s transition to Net Zero.
Opening in January 2023, these important new centres will help to power the growth of sustainable skills and employment opportunities in Kent and Medway with a focus on three sectors key to the economy of this part of the South East of England: Construction, Manufacturing-Engineering and Horticulture.
Read the full press release via the button above.
KFE T-Level Mini Conference - 13th May 2022
04 May 2022
KFE colleges are set to undertake their second collaborative staff mini-conference of the 2021/22 academic year. This time the focus of the conference planned for 13th May is T-Levels.
KFE colleges have been leading on T-Level roll out in Kent and Medway, with EKC Group colleges already delivering five T-Levels and MidKent College two this year. North Kent College is set to introduce T-Levels from 2022/23 as EKCG and MKC expand their offer. This will see up to 28 T-Levels in place in the county for next academic year based on the plans of the three colleges.
The T-Level conference is therefore crucially timed to help the colleges' staff link and network on T-Level development, employer engagement, work placements, curriculum development and CPD amongst many other topics and themes.
The conference will feature inputs from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the Education and Training Foundation and the K&M NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. These will provide a wrap around case studies from EKCG and MKC on their experiences notably around T-Level development for EKCG and pedagogy and TLA delivery aspects from MKC.
Approximately 70 staff have registered for the mini-conference exceeding expectations and building on the first KFE mini-con held on 1st December 2021 and the successful online conference held on 9th February 2022.
For more information and programme click the conference button above.
KFE Colleges NAW collaboration sees joint branded social media campaign
08 February 2022
In what is a first for the KFE partnership, the colleges' marketing teams have come together to collaborate in the promotion of this year's National Apprenticeship Week.
KFE operates several active network groups and the Marcoms Network is one of its longest standing. Since becoming three colleges (with 12 main campus sites) covering the whole of Kent and Medway, KFE has been able to progress its collaborative work both strategically and at an operational level.
The NAW presented a great opportunity for the colleges' marketing lead representatives to work together on some joint campaign imagery based around this year's NAW marketing style. For the first time all three college brands are present and can be seen this week on KFE's and the colleges' social media streams.
This collaboration is the first of what is expected to be an increasing collective approach to advocating and presenting the colleges' provision. Where apprenticeships are concerned Kent & Medway's colleges are the single largest provider of apprenticeships in the county with over 3,000 in-learning annually across dozens of industry areas and professions.
KFE is also a key partner and supporter of the annual Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony, and is pleased to confirm its support for the 2022 Rochester Cathedral event planned for October: www.appgradkandm.org
KFE Creates SEFE with South East Regional College Organisations
31 January 2022
KFE has joined with FE Sussex and The Federation of Essex Colleges to establish a regional partnership of the FE colleges across the current LEP region.
The Partnership simply known as SEFE (South East Further Education) comprises the 3 Kent and Medway colleges, the three FE Sussex colleges within the SELEP area and the 8 colleges within Essex. This covers an amazing 32 different college campus sites and venues.
The partnership has been formed to promote FE and to raise its profile overall across the region, with key stakeholders and policy makers. The mission as stated in the partnership's first publication released in January 2022, is for SEFE to play a leading role in the development and delivery of education and skills solutions which benefit long-term social and economic transformation across the south east region.
The SEFE published document seeks to set out the overall impact of the region's FE colleges and includes some impressive statistics that many may not be aware of:
- The colleges deliver education and training to over 82,000 learners
- This includes over 40,000 aged 16-19
- Over 10,500 apprentices
- More than 6,000 in higher education delivered by the FE colleges
- Employ over 6,600 staff
- and account for a combined income of approximately £395m.
You can view the new publication, which is intended as the first of a series of focused releases here.
Physiotherapy wins Best Small Business KEiBA Award 2022
7 December 2021
KFE is pleased to confirm that Kesson Physiotherapy won the KFE sponsored Best Small Business of the Year KEiBA award. Pictured above receiving the handmade trophy and certificate is the business's Denise Kesson, with KFE's judge Mark Hill.
Based at the Faversham Physiotherapy and Fitness Studio, it attracts clients from across the county – offering both clinic and home visits. From its state-of-the-art hubs it welcomes self-referrals, GP and specialist consultant referrals and members of YourPhysioPlan – a network of clinics who can offer top class treatments.
Launched in 1983, it relies on two main revenue streams contributing to its turnover. Kesson Physio Ltd holds its public sector contracts, through which all NHS activity is channelled. Kesson Physio Services is its sole trading company through which self-funding patients and private medical insurance patient activity is attributed. Prior to the pandemic, it had seen 20% annual growth.
It had decided in 2017 to focus on driving growth in the latter and was seeing the results of its efforts. The pandemic saw its activity drop by 90% “almost overnight” while public activity plunged 75%.
However, it was one of the only physiotherapy providers who managed to offer a consistent, uninterrupted, and accessible virtual NHS physiotherapy service in Kent. Within six weeks of the first lockdown, and with stringent safety steps in place, it was able to offer Covid-Secure face-to-face sessions again.
It was also improved physical health with online classes and support mental health with free to access virtual socials and weekly phone calls checking in with its most vulnerable patients. Remarkably, thanks to its efforts, it achieved the same turnover in 2020 as it had in pre- pandemic 2019.
Over the next five years, it has set an ambitious goal of enabling 2million people to follow its ‘Move Better. Live Better’ programme. To enable this it will use its five partner clinics across Kent to help push the message to its NHS clients, while also enabling those with long term conditions to sign up to its bespoke programmes.
KFE's judges Mark Hill of KFE and Becky Farley of MidKent College concluded that the following businesses were the three additional Finalists for 2021 from an incredibly strong field of 50 entries.
Convert Energy Ltd
Dunk Cookies Ltd
Snowy’s Canine Therapy Centre
EKC Group Launches the East Kent Apprenticeship Awards 2022
22 November 2021
As 2022 fast approaches, the nomination process for the fourth East Kent Apprenticeships Awards opens for all East Kent businesses to put forward their best apprentice.
EKAA 2022 returns to seek out exceptional apprentices and the East Kent businesses who are helping them pave their way into the world of work. Organised by leading Kent marketing agency Pillory Barn and in partnership with the EKC Group, the awards ceremony returns as a gala evening in 2022 after the in-person event had to be cancelled in 2021 due to Covid restrictions.
The following categories that businesses can enter their apprentices into have remained the same for 2022 after large popularity in 2021:
· Health, Social Care & Science
· Education & Early Years
· Hair & Beauty
· Hospitality & Retail
· Business Management & Administration
· Creative & Digital
Also returning are two categories which focus on public and private sector businesses and organisations that go the extra mile to offer high quality apprenticeships and champion them as a pathway into employment.
The ‘East Kent Apprenticeship Champion of the Year’ award celebrates an individual who has acted as East Kent’s best ambassador for apprenticeships, going above and beyond to promote these opportunities to a wider audience.
Finally, carrying over from last year the ‘Apprenticeship Champion of Covid-19’ category remains, to celebrate those apprentices that have shown adaptability and made a real difference over the past year, despite tricky circumstances during the pandemic.
To enter the awards, visit www.eka-awards.co.uk and complete the nomination form for one or more selected categories, explaining in no more than 250 words why your nominee deserves recognition. Entries are welcome from the Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe, Canterbury, Swale, Thanet and Dover districts of Kent.
The full story can be found here.
Nominations Close: 20th December 2021
KFE Works with the Kent Invicta Chamber to Secure £5.6m for FE through the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP)
09 October 2021
Kent companies now have more opportunity than ever to influence the local skills agenda, after a Chamber and Further Education partnership has been appointed one of eight national trailblazers by the Government.
The news follows a successful joint bid by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce with EKC Group, MidKent College and North Kent College, to help businesses across Kent and Medway to flourish as new skills are unlocked and skills gaps are filled.
The partnership bid secured £5.6m for Kent’s further education colleges to implement a pilot Strategic Development Fund and bring forward new courses tailored to the needs of business. Under the Skills Accelerator Programme, the further education colleges will focus on three key sectors: agriculture, construction and engineering, with a shared thread of decarbonisation.
The remaining funding will create a Local Skills Improvement Programme (LSIP) with the Chamber of Commerce by working with Kent companies and other business groups to identify immediate skills needs and solutions.
Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “The LSIP will help businesses shape the curriculum delivered by the local further education colleges. It will ensure the county’s skills priorities are aligned and that the workforce has the skills needed to enable businesses here in Kent to grow.
“This partnership will strengthen the relationship between business and education, ensuring Kent’s students learn the most appropriate skills for the county and increasing their employability.”
The LSIP will build upon the longstanding work between the chamber and the further education colleges, including the Kickstart training programme for 16 to 24-year-olds.
Simon Cook, Principal and Chief Executive of MidKent College, which led the bid, said: “We’re very fortunate to have a strong partnership of colleges here in Kent and Medway that can work effectively together to deliver positive outcomes for local people across the county. We’re delighted that our bid was successful, and we’re confident that the Government’s investment here will help us support these three key sectors in transforming their operations to protect our environment while contributing to the local economy.”
Graham Razey, Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group, said: “As a Group we are committed to working in partnership with employers across our area, and have done so very successfully in the past. This Skills Accelerator Project will ensure our colleges deliver increased innovation, productivity and resilience in the Kent and Medway economy, whilst also making a significant contribution to local and national sustainability goals for the future.”
David Gleed, Chief Executive of North Kent College, said: “We are very pleased with the success of our joint Bid, demonstrating a real vote of confidence in Kent FE and reflecting the many years of the Colleges working in partnership across Kent. The investment will maintain the position of the three partner colleges as one of the leading innovators of skills within the County ensuring the residents and employers of Kent continue to benefit from the high-quality opportunities that we all provide year after year.”
For more on this story click here.
Kent & Medway FE college staff celebrated at Kent Teachers' Awards
08 October 2021
KFE colleges were at the forefront of the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards on Friday evening 8th October. The KTAs were celebrated at the Ashford International Hotel which hosted the gala dinner event for school and FE college award winners.
The event was hosted by Nicola Everett of the KM Media Group well known for her presenting roles on KMTV and KMFM as well as oversight of KM Digital online news.
KFE colleges all took home honours as follows:
Academic Team Award - The Equine Team - North Kent College (Hadlow College)
Support Staff of the Year - Gemma Ryan - North Kent College
FE Academic of the Year - Paul Plummer - MidKent College
FE Academic Support Team of the Year - Art & Design Team - North Kent College
FE Academic of the Year - Patrick Raraty-Squires - EKC Group (Canterbury College)
FE Support Staff of the Year - Chrissy Broadbridge - EKC Group (Canterbury College)
The overall academic teaching staff award also went to Patrick Raraty-Squires of EKC Group's Canterbury College (pictured). The overall academic support award was won by the Art & Design Team at North Kent College's Dartford Campus.
KFE would like to congratulate all the winners and especially our own FE college award winners. It was a very difficult year to judge with 47 FE nominations reaching the judging panel stage in the summer.
Mark Hill, KFE Director said, "I had the honour of judging for 2021 and it was not an easy task. We've never had so many strong entries and in the context of Covid 19 we clearly had many exceptional stories of going above and beyond the usual amazing roles our staff deliver every day. It was great to see all 3 of our college organisations win awards on the night. These awards certainly mean a great deal to the staff that gain recognition amongst their peers from across the education sectors of schools and FE colleges."
For the full event photo bank on Flikr click here.
KFE Colleges See Record K&M Apprenticeship Graduations!
15 September 2021
The three colleges that form Kent Further Education (KFE) will all see the apprentices they delivered training to graduate at the forthcoming Kent & Medway Apprentice Graduation Ceremony on Friday 8 October, compered by KMTV, KMFM and KM Online presenter Nicola Everett.
The event will see record numbers from 18 different training providers including the three colleges, celebrate their achievements virtually via the Remo conferencing platform. This year a 140% increase in registrations means that 290+ apprentices from 170+ different employers will be able to enjoy the event in the presence of friends, family, employers and their training providers. They will also receive an enhanced graduate pack which includes a commemorative tassel, certificate, apprenticeship badge and special edition programme.
Of the 290+ apprentices 200+ are from the FE colleges. Despite Covid impacts on apprenticeships and especially in some sectors, the colleges have been successful in maintaining employer engagement and achievement of the End Point Assessment stage for most apprentices despite lockdowns and some impact on apprentice employment.
For more information about the K&M Apprentice Graduation Ceremony visit their dedicated website. KFE is an active sponsor and core partner of the event. For the site and press release go to AppGradKandM.org.
20 June 2021
Kent Further Education (KFE) which is the partnership of all three of Kent and Medway’s FE colleges (EKC Group, MidKent College and North Kent College), undertook its third successful annual inter-college skills event on Friday 18 June, compered by KM’s Nicola Everett.
Over 200 students and staff engaged in the event which took place virtually using the Remo conferencing platform. The event saw students showcase their skills in eighteen different industries across three main categories of commercial and service, creative and artisan trade industries.
For 2021 however, there were some differences to previous years due to the impact of the Covid 1 pandemic on education and training. The event known as KFE4Skills is normally a single day skills competition which takes place at one of the hosting colleges.
Covid 19 caused the Kent and Medway colleges’ event to be postponed in March, but the three colleges’ leadership and management teams agreed that rather than losing the event completely, that a friendly end of year skills showcase transmitted live online would be a great way to celebrate students’ achievements and resilience over the last 15 months.
Simon Cook said, “As a genuine partnership of colleges with twelve campus sites right across the county, we were all in agreement that we needed to provide an opportunity for our students to shine despite the year’s challenges. It was a real delight to see all the hard work put into the event’s content by the students and the support they’ve had from our incredible FE college staff to help make it happen. A huge thanks indeed to all involved.”
Despite the Covid challenges, the students supported by staff produced over 70 short videos and presentations, which formed the basis of the event. These were carefully scheduled into a day programme by industry and played concurrently via the Remo conferencing platform. The use of the Remo platform meant that students, staff and invited guests could watch the skills showcases in a live transmission style and engage through the platform’s interactive functions on the day.
For the full press release go to our KFE4Skills page.
KFE Confirmed as Small Business of the Year Sponsor for KEiBA 2021
20 May 2021
KFE is pleased to confirm that it will act as sole sponsor of the best Small Business of the Year category at this year's KEiBAs. Kent and Medway's FE colleges have had a long history of supporting the KEiBAs and in fact were closely involved with organisation and event delivery of the very first event all those years ago at Leeds Castle.
KFE was already acting as sponsor for the 2020 event and had even started the judging process when the Covid 19 pandemic interrupted everything including the KEiBAs which sadly in the end were cancelled for 2020. So it is great that they are back albeit in a virtual format this time. Despite this KFE is keen to support the event as part of its own employer engagement and Covid recovery activities especially because KFE colleges deliver thousands of apprentices and each work with hundreds of employers, many of which are small businesses every year.
The Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA) 2021 is now open for entries. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate how your company has successfully overcome the challenges of the last 12 months. Awards are one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools. Winning a prestigious KEiBA award will help your organisation to stand out from the crowd, send a positive message to your existing customers and attract new business. Full details on how to enter are available at keiba.co.uk.
KFE4Skills Industry Virtual Showcase Briefs Now Live
18 June 2021
10 May 2021
KFE is pleased to confirm that all the KFE4Skills showcase briefs are now live on the website's skills competition page. The showcase will take place on 18 June 2021 using the Remo platform
The event will be showcase based without a competition element. This change enables students and staff who are working hard to complete their 2020/21 programmes, to include course work, assessment and portfolio contents in the showcase.
The day will see a series of showcase demonstrations from the county's various FE colleges banded into three categories - Artisan Trades, Service & Commercial and Creative Industries. We hope this will provide students, staff and industry guests an opportunity to enjoy approximately 2 hours per category of superb skills demonstrations that set colleges apart and showcase what FE can offer young people especially via a great celebration of a wide variety of skills.
To find out more go to the KFE site's Competitions Page. The event hashtag as always will be #KFE4Skills. Registration is now open and closes 4 June 2021. Registration is essential to access Remo on the day.
KFE4Skills Industry Virtual Showcase
18 June 2021
29 April 2021
Following 2 years of successful inter-college skills competitions in 2019 at Canterbury College and 2020 at MidKent College, KFE has opted for a virtual event in 2021 which will take place on 18 June 2021 using the Remo platform.
Covid has meant we can't have the type of event which brings hundreds of students and staff together in friendly skills competitions across over 20 industries, as pictured above from 2020.
Therefore, the event will be showcase based without a competition element. This change is intended to enable students and staff who are working hard to complete their 2020/21 programmes, to include course work, assessment and portfolio contents in the showcase. This will reduce pressure on everyone after a challenging year with lockdowns and face to face education and training disruption, or even complete closure of some vocational skills especially in employment settings.
The aim is also to end the 2020/21 year as positively as possible for students and staff, in what we hope will be a great celebration of a wide variety of skills.
There are currently 21 industry briefs on the KFE website covering, artisan trades, creative industries and commercial and service industries. The event will run throughout the day on 18 June and through Remo will allow students, staff and guests to watch the various showcases and interact across industry areas.. These will be mainly brief video format showcases and demonstrations from each college.
To find out more go to the KFE site's Competitions Page. The event hashtag as always will be #KFE4Skills.
SELEP Launches New SE Skills Website
25 March 2021
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has launched a new dedicated SE Skills Website. The new site is intended as a dedicated online resource to support raising skills in the south east.
Following development work during 2020 the site is now able to present key information from SELEP's Digital Skills Partnership and the Skills Advisory Panel (SAP).
The site includes nav-bar tabs covering labour market, apprenticeship and T-Level information, as well as details on how businesses and residents across the regions counties can boost their skills and access digital training opportunities and courses.
There's even information for technical skills practitioners and educators in what will be an important addition to the region's skills information resources.
The site can be visited by clicking the SELEP link button above or here.
KFE's TLAC21 Hits Record 600 Delegates on Remo
18 Feb 2021
KFE's fourth major Teaching, Learning & Assessment Conference took place virtually online for the first time, on Wednesday 10th February 2021! The virtually based event will brought together hundreds of academic teaching and academic support staff from all KFE colleges as well as some external parties and guests.
The TLAC21 virtual event used the Remo conferencing platform supported by MS Teams and Zoom workshops and included 3 keynotes and 15 presentations and workshop sessions across three strands.
The event saw an incredible 600 staff and guest registrations! Three times more than KFE has been able to accommodate in the previous physical events. The event took a strand based approach with staff benefitting from an improved range of keynotes as well as workshop strand options on themes most relevant, or of interest to them and their personal and organisational CPD enhancement.
Given the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on education and training delivery, a major focal point was on digital and blended learning, including lessons learned, good practice identified and consolidation of delivery and evolving related QA and QI approaches.
For historic event slide packs and other resources visit the site's dedicated TLA Resources page where you can find the 2019, 2020 and 2021 programmes and presenters' presentations. #KFETLAC.
If you are an external person or organisation interested in attending please contact KFE via the contact form.
KFE Colleges Supporting National Apprenticeships Week 2021
08 Feb 2021
This week is National Apprenticeships Week! The week will see various activities led by the National Apprenticeship Service, Association of Colleges (AoC) and Department for Education as well as colleges locally which promote and showcase Apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships play a critical role in enabling young people and adults to earn whilst learning and training for their careers. With Covid 19 having caused disruption to apprenticeship delivery and recruitment nationally, it is recognised that FE colleges will play a vital part in their recovery. This is especially at local level in Kent and Medway.
Apprenticeships will also play a major role going forward as detailed in the recently published Skills White Paper, which will see the development of college business centres and chambers of commerce becoming more involved with skills provision planning with local employers.
For activities colleges are undertaking linked to National Apprenticeships Week, check out the links to each on the Our Colleges page.
For more about National Apprenticeships Week visit the DfE site via the image above or check out Amazing Apprenticeships. #NAW #LoveOurColleges #KFE4Skills
KFE TLA Conference 2021 Programme Live & Registration Open
14 Jan 2021
KFE is pleased to confirm the pre-event programme for the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Conference 2021. This year the annual event will take place virtually using the Remo conferencing platform supported by additional strand workshops delivered via Teams and Zoom.
This year we have our most comprehensive event ever with multiple keynotes including Matt Bromley, Professor Dylan Wiliam and Oftsed's Richard Beynon. The conference will also feature Remo sessions on the lessons learned and good practice emerging around TLA by our Kent & Medway college teams, digital inclusion and a DfE update on Prevent.
Workshops will include a timely apprenticeships week update from the AoC, English and Maths focused workshops by TEP and EKCG, wellbeing support sessions by TEP and T-Level practical development sessions by ETF.
For more information visit our events page via the button link above and download the programme and register now. Registration closes 1st Feb 2021.