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Debbie AllinghamOnline education audit technology developed by a Gateshead company has supported the delivery of a new apprenticeship equality initiative led by South Tyneside College.
 
Mesma’s technology has been used as part of a new online e-toolkit for a project involving the college and local training providers Tyne & Wear LGV, Empire Training Solutions and North East Training Solutions.
 
The initiative, which finished in July, aimed to identify ways in which the job opportunities for apprentices in traditionally gender specific roles such as lorry driving and in the care sector could be increased.
 
This included examining ways to reduce any male and female bias in apprenticeship selection, recruitment and advertising, as well as provide evidence for supporting gender-neutral work environments.
 
Laurea Project Services, who brought in Mesma to provide an online audit tool, managed the project on behalf of the college.
 
This enabled participating FE providers to facilitate self-assessment activity against pre-defined questions related to their approach to overcoming gender bias on apprenticeship programmes.
 
Data from the project was captured and uploaded to the Mesma audit resource to improve the sharing of information between all involved in the project.
 
Mesma’s improvement planning feature was also utilised to capture planned interventions as an output from the self-assessment. Here, specific features enabled providers to add bespoke objectives, allocating these to owners and setting a delivering timeframe and anticipated impact.
 
Debbie Allingham, Laurea Project Services, said: “I was aware of the Mesma platform with other clients who utilise it to enhance their approach to self-assessment against the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework.
 
“We were able to share our methodology and resulting outcomes, which included a learner passport, training resources for staff and the provider improvement ideas at the recent Further Education Knowledge Exchange events in London and Manchester with positive feedback from other providers we spoke to.”
 
Launched into the education sector in 2013, Mesma software ensures education institutes embed the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework in their self-assessment activity.  
 
The system enables leadership teams to focus more time and resources on teaching and learning provision and less on paperwork, helping them to complete self-assessment reports – a requirement of the Ofsted common inspection framework.
 
This is the latest success for the firm outside of the Ofsted framework, which already supplies leading public school Clifton College and national not-for-profit groups like The MindSet with its technology.
 
Company director Louise Doyle said: “We have been delighted to work with South Tyneside College as partners on this project.
 
“There is a constant drive to encourage more and more self-assessment and improve levels of learning and teaching provision in FE for projects such as this. Mesma helps to achieve this and far more besides.
 
“We are particularly keen to support initiatives whereby transparent peer to peer review is involved.”
 
Mesma is owned and operated by three directors – Neil Donkin, Carole Loader and Louise Doyle – who between them have more than 30 years experience in business and working in with the education sector, helping head teachers and other staff complete self-assessment – a requirement of the Ofsted common inspection framework.More at www.mesma.co.uk
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