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First Impact Report shows that 18,206 people studied with Milton Keynes College Group in 2020/21

This week, Milton Keynes College Group launches its first Impact Report to share the progress of its vision to ‘Build Fairer Futures and recognise the valuable work of its community partners. The Group launched its vision last July and set out its five-year strategy, with a key aim ‘to promote and live equality, fairness, diversity, and inclusion’ and today’s report shows the actions the Group has taken. 

The Report was launched at the College’s Brasserie, with guests including the Mayor of Milton Keynes Mohammed Khan and representatives from community groups and local employers. 

The Report features the data and stories of impact delivered across the Group, from addressing the skills and talent shortage, to tackling poverty, supporting its learners through the pandemic via online delivery, tackling the digital divide and mental health crisis. 

Dr Julie Mills, Group Principal and CEO, highlights what this report means: 

“We’re incredibly proud of the work our students and staff do to make a positive impact in our local communities, as part of our vision to build Fairer Futures in Milton Keynes and beyond. But of course one organisation in isolation can only do so much – we’re so grateful to all of the partner businesses, community groups and individuals we work with. Together, we can make amazing things happen. 

“Our communities deliver incredible work every day and we wanted to recognise the difference their efforts had on the 18,206 learners during the last academic year. But also, to celebrate the impact of what they do for the wider community, particularly for underrepresented groups or people from lower-income backgrounds. 

“Our first report acts as a stepping stone on which to build and make progress; we know we are doing some things well but there are other areas where we need to do more, such as attracting a more diverse workforce. And, by making a start at measuring the impact of what we do, it now gives us a benchmark to exceed and create even more positive change in the communities we serve.” 

Anna Clarke, Group Director of Employment Engagement and Partnerships, reflects on the impact of the initiatives launched to address unemployment and the skills and talent shortage:  

“The secondary effects of the pandemic exposed the stark social and economic inequalities in our communities, with people from underrepresented groups hit with high levels of unemployment. To address the scale of the challenge, it needed a collaborative approach to delivering much-needed new services to support people back into work and help employers train their workforce. 

“We launched several initiatives in 2021, including SkillsHub:MK, In Work Skills and NewFutures:MK in collaboration with MK Council and industry partners, all designed to address the skills gaps head-on.” 

“We helped 481 people directly into employment in 2021 through apprenticeships and NewFutures:MK. It’s really rewarding to see the impact this has had on each individual and it reflects the heart of what we do, which is to use the power of education so more people have access to opportunities to train and develop—at any stage of their life—to secure skilled well-paid jobs.” 

Cllr Mohammed Khan, Mayor of Milton Keynes, comments on the difference of the students and staff of MK College Group:  

“The Community Impact Report is truly reflective of where the College, and Milton Keynes as a whole, is right now. It’s fantastic to see that 18,206 learners studied with Milton Keynes College Group in the last academic year and that students and staff have been involved in community-led initiatives including the Community Fridge, the #CutItOut and Lions Barbers Collective campaigns and the Jolly and Jingle event organised by its own inclusive learners. The College’s Friends and Allies Network also collaborated on some great initiatives including the partnership with St Mark’s Meals and planning a careers fair which was held in March 2022.” 

He added: “This report makes me even more excited about what the future holds for Milton Keynes and its communities, and I hope others feel the same way.” 

Report highlights 

  • 93% of employers rated us as good or outstanding. 
  • £3.5 million investment in a Business Centre. 
  • NewFutures:MK – helped people back into jobs and supported training/personal development – creating opportunities for all, now and in the future. 788 people engaged. 
  • SkillHub:MK – directly addresses the training needs of local employers. 
  • In Work Skills – addresses the gap in digital skills in the workforce. 937 enrolled across 22 industries and ‘76% of employers stated they would not have been able to pay for the programmes had it not been available for free via South Central Institute of Technology’ 
  • 481 – people directly supported into work with local employers in 2021 via apprenticeships and NewFutures:MK. 
  • 273 employers supported our students to take part in 25,758 hours of industry placements and work experience. 
  • Apprenticeships achievement rate 13.8% above the national average, currently 652 apprentices on programme. 
  • Over 250 guest speakers from the industry. 
  • Work with Bluecube (provides outsourced IT services) to address talent shortage via apprenticeships. 18 apprentices recruited so far with plans for another 40 over the next 12 months. 
  • Distance learning – increase in demand, over 2,500 learners with an achievement rate 7.3% above the national average at 97%. 

At Milton Keynes College Group, we’re proud to welcome learners of all levels – delivering exceptional education in all of our sectors. MK College, MKC Commercial, and South Central IoT offer a full range of qualifications, study programmes, apprenticeships and Higher Education to full and part-time students, and employability and key skills training programmes to local community learning centres. We’re also one of the largest providers of Prison Education. 

Here at MK College Group, we know that education has the power to create equal opportunities and to build fairer futures that lead to an inclusive society for all. In 2022, we celebrated a big milestone, our 40th anniversary.