Skip to main content

Teaching Through Tinsel: Keep Students Engaged With CPD Courses

Details: Written by Kate Hutchinson |

As motivation and focus begin to waiver in those final few weeks before Christmas break, The Skills Network is here to support colleges and ITPs across the UK to ‘teach through tinsel’. We know that keeping your students focused and ‘ticking over’ with their studies before, during and after the festive period can be a challenge. Our range of online continuous professional development (CPD) courses can supplement your existing curriculum in a way that is both enriching and engaging for the learner. From helping to nurture well-rounded individuals who are fit for work and life ‘beyond the college walls’ to ensuring your organisation can evidence quality blended learning for Ofsted inspection, this blog will help guide you through some of the enrichment and CPD content we have available via our EQUAL platform, and why this is incredibly beneficial to your students. And remember, our CPDs are not just for Christmas, they’re for life.

Why is CPD Important for FE providers?

Here at The Skills Network, we could wax lyrical about the benefits of CPD courses for your learners and the wider community. So, to keep things concise we’ve broken it down into 5 key reasons why you should introduce our CPD courses into your curriculum in the run-up to 2024 and beyond.

Speak to our team today

1) CPDs Help to Develop a Work-Ready Individual

As an Assessor, Curriculum Lead, College Principal, Training Manager or Head of Services, ensuring that your learners develop the skills needed to enter the workforce and wider society should be the cornerstone of any college or ITP.

The primary purpose of our CPD is to supplement formal qualifications, helping people attain the vocational qualifications and soft skills necessary to secure and advance in their careers or educational pursuits.

And it’s tough out there for 16-18 year olds.

A recent Collab Group roundtable with the Global Community College Leadership Network revealed that international labour markets are increasingly challenging to navigate.

Job vacancies in the UK

In the UK, there are over 1 million job vacancies, but with a population of 67 million, employers are struggling to recruit and end up poaching staff from each other- leaving little opportunity for young college leavers to get a foot in the door.

Furthermore, students and employers alike have identified a significant lack of soft skills and workplace preparedness among college-age students.

FE and HE providers in wealthy countries such as the US and Canada have been criticised in recent years for their failure to prepare students with crucial soft skills and behaviours for future employment.

Mental robustness as a soft skill has been identified as a significant concern with just over half of the respondents from a college survey reporting experiencing workplace burnout at least once a week.

Mental health challenges in young workers UK Graduates feel unprepared for the world of work

So, how can The Skills Network help?

The Skills Network’s online CPD courses provide soft skills training and help give your students the edge when applying in an oversaturated and competitive labour market.

CPDs are not just suitable for those who are nearing leaving education and entering the workforce. We understand that many of the courses your students enrol on include a work placement or work experience element as part of the curriculum.

A CPD online course based on the topic of employability and life at work will help to equip your students with the skills and knowledge required to excel and thrive in a permanent or temporary work-based setting.

Why not encourage your students to embrace CPD and become work-ready in 2024?

Speak to our team today

The below CPD courses are all delivered fully online and can help supplement your current curriculum or can be completed as independent study:

Discover more online CPD courses with certificates

2) Be Ofsted Ready with Positive Learner Outcomes and Evidenced CPD Delivery

We understand that our valued FE partners are committed to delivering an exceptional learning experience, even during those last few weeks before Christmas when focus might be waning.

Nowhere is this commitment to exceptional learning better exemplified than during an Ofsted inspection. A ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report result is a powerful endorsement of an FE organisation’s quality and performance.

It can also lead to:

  • Increased student enrollment numbers
  • Improved funding opportunities
  • Enhanced partnerships
  • Raised local community profile

Recent Ofsted findings revealed that the FE and skills sector demonstrated a great variety in learners' and providers’ experiences. There we “good examples of ambitious curriculums, skilled teachers, and motivated learners.”

Ofsted identified 3 key areas for improvement among FE providers

CPD programmes can help give FE providers the edge for Ofsted inspection

The Skills Network’s portfolio of accredited online CPDs and short courses can directly tackle the above 3 shortcomings for all FE providers.

  1. Online CPD courses provide structured off-the-job training that can be completed independently or as a part of a hybrid learning model
  1. The Skills Network offers a diverse portfolio of employability CPDs and short courses to equip learners for future employment
  1. All CPD and short course learning content is accessible via an award-winning LMS called EQUAL, with additional support and resources available for those who need it

Colleges that consistently receive positive Ofsted reports are more likely to excel in providing high-quality education and opportunities for their students.

Evidence your CPD activity with EQUAL reporting

As FE and skills experts, we know that recording the impact of a mandated CPD programme is essential. Recording and reporting on CPD performance can help facilitate curriculum review and make necessary adjustments, ensuring its suitability for future FE practice.

EQUAL, our award-winning LMS software enables Tutors, Curriculum Planners, college Principals and more to intuitively and efficiently generate bespoke reports for all e-learning activities- including continued professional development.

Evidencing CPD hours on our powerful LMS technology will enable Ofsted inspectors to comprehensively see the diverse and dynamic delivery of enriching education provided to your students.

Learning Management System- EQUAL

Learn more about our award winning LMS

3) Online CPD Courses Help Deliver Accessible and Flexible Blended Learning

By carefully supplementing the existing curriculum with our expertly crafted online CPD courses, FE providers can make their learning content more accessible during the Christmas break.

What do we mean by accessible learning?

By carefully supplementing the existing curriculum with our expertly crafted online CPD courses, FE providers can make their learning content more accessible during the Christmas break.

Accessible online learning is at the heart of what we do here at The Skills Network.

Accessible online learning with The Skills Network means:

  • Ensuring ultimate flexibility with all our online learning content which is available to students 24/7, so that they can access their course at a time and place that suits them.
  • Paper-based learning materials are available for direct learners with special educational needs where there is a requirement to do so.
  • Expert-developed online learning content that is inclusive to students who may have additional accessibility needs such as a visual impairment.
  • Course materials and resources are stored in our award-winning cloud-based LMS called EQUAL, meaning no need for students to purchase expensive textbooks or stationery to complete their course.
  • Guaranteeing that FE providers can still deliver quality education via a distance learning model, should unforeseeable circumstances such as poor weather prevent your students from accessing a classroom.

Discover our accessible online CPD courses

4) CPD can Help Providers Meet their CSR Goals and Support the Local Community

Most FE providers champion a Corporate Social Responsibility policy, outlining their commitment to ethical business operations, sustainable practices to protect the environment, and a dedication to serve and support their local community.

CPD programmes allow FE providers to be directly responsive to local community themes and needs.

Perhaps your college or independent training organisation is based in a city or town with a high student population. Given the transient nature of larger cities with significant student populations, this can impact wider community cohesion and is often connected with undesirable societal issues such as:

  • Drink spiking
  • Excessive drinking
  • Substance misuse
  • Cultural differences
  • Racial abuse
  • Physical violence, including the use of weapons

These themes can be of particular resonance with cities and towns during the holiday season.

Introducing our ‘social series’ CPD courses...

The Skills Network offers a broad portfolio of CPD courses, with an offshoot of ‘social series’ CPDs that are dedicated to developing knowledge and understanding of current societal issues.

The Skills Network’s social series CPDs can be delivered as a proactive and preventative approach and also present an opportunity for colleges to shape individuals into upstanding members of the wider public.

Choose from our diverse social series CPD portfolio:

All social series courses are CPD accredited and consist of 2 hours of online guided learning.

Support Local Sustainability Commitment With CPD Enrichment

Educating local community members about the importance of sustainability and green skills is another integral element of many FE providers’ CSR policies.

As concerns about climate change and environmental degradation have grown, there has been a global push towards adopting more sustainable practices. This has led to the emergence of new job opportunities and the need for individuals to be equipped with green skills for their current roles, future green jobs and day-to-day lives.

Green Skills

Partnering with The Skills Network for sustainability CPD programmes will allow FE providers to…

  1. Meet their CSR goals
  1. Raise their public profile
  1. Engage with the local community
  1. Develop green skills for individuals
  1. Boost local employability prospects

Choose from a wide variety of online sustainability CPD courses:

All sustainability CPD courses from The Skills Network are accredited by TQUK.

Enquire about our CPD programmes today

Maximise GLH with CPD programmes

5) Maximise Guided Learning Hours (GLH) Allocation with CPD

As educators, we know how important it is to ensure that every guided learning hour counts. Supplementing curriculum and spare GLH with CPD hours can be mutually beneficial for both tutors and students.

Tutors: Can tailor and compliment their existing curriculum with enriching auto-marked e-learning content.

Students: Will become equipped with additional CPD or short course qualification certificates and an evidenced CPD hours record for future progression.

Why choose The Skills Network for your CPD programme?

To put it simply, we’re the experts in delivering accessible online education and are trusted by over 500 colleges, ITPs and local authorities across the UK.

We can help providers deliver value-added curriculum to their students as well as to their staff and local community.

The Skills Network is also proud to be a….

  • Award-winning provider of courses with CPD hours 2023
  • Award-winning provider of e-learning courses 2023
  • Direct contract holder with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

Findcourses awards The Skills Network

So there you have it.

5 reasons why CPD programmes from The Skills Network are your solution to teaching through tinsel, and beyond into 2024.

Get in touch today to learn more about our bespoke and dynamically priced CPD packages.

Need support with your FE delivery?

Speak to our team today

Or email us at