Learning in the Cold: How Tribal supports providers with the Cost-of-Living crisis

Posted by Beth Anderson

Campaign for learning recently shared their Learning in the cold: The Cost-of-Living Crisis and Post-16 Education and Skills report detailing the impact of the cost-of-living on learners, prospective learnings, providers, and employers in the post-16 education system.

The report sets out its recommendations on how both providers and the government can make changes to help ease the cost-of-living crisis and inflation issues surrounding it. In this series of blogs, we will discuss the challenges set out in the report and how technology can be utilised to help ease some of the issues caused by the rising cost-of-living.

How does the cost-of-living affect me as an education provider?

Whilst it’s easy to consider the cost-of-living crisis as one that affects only home life, the impact the rising costs will have on the education sector is paramount. Combine energy and gas costs, with the rising demand of teachers for additional wages, and educators are in a dire situation.

David Hughes, Chief Executive, AoC wrote: “Many (colleges) are thinking the almost unthinkable – from lowering the thermostat to 19 degrees to closing buildings, reducing opening hours, and even supplying blankets for classrooms.

We’re hearing more anecdotal evidence of young people taking full-time jobs rather than staying in learning because they need to supplement the household income.”

FE Week also reported that South Essex College will be operating a four-day week to cope with the rising costs.

Head to the cloud

If we consider how best to utilise technology, there are ways to reduce energy costs. One way is to consider how you currently store data, is it on premise, constantly on and taking up large amounts of both space and energy? It’s time to switch to cloud. This not only ensures your data is safe and secure, but also allows for buildings holding large database servers to be utilised for other things or shut off completely.

Early intervention to reduce drop out

It’s no surprise that students have it tougher than ever when it comes to being motivated and engaged with learning, with many taking on jobs outside of learning to help their families. Despite this additional income, many are still left with little to no disposable spending once bills are paid for.

Susan Pember, Policy Director, HOLEX wrote: “A third of students are living on less than £50 a month after paying rent and bills as the cost of living continues to soar.”

Whilst educators can’t stop a student from working, the impact this could have on students’ concentration, learning and positive outcomes could be detrimental - so it’s vital to support them where possible.

Liz Marr, Pro-Vice Chancellor – Students, The Open University stated: “A survey of OU students in May revealed that a significant number were already looking to increase their hours of work (22%) or take on a second job (16%) to cope with rising costs of living which, by constraining the time available for their studies, risks reducing their chances of successfully completing them.”

By utilising a technology solution, like Maytas, you can monitor and track progress of your learners, identifying those who may be less engaged, falling behind or close to completion. This allows early intervention for those students you have concerns about or allows you to work with the student to enable them to find a work vs. study balance that works for them.

Supplement staff resource

Like so many, staff within the education sector are struggling to make ends meet when it comes to rising costs and current wages. This combined with the post-pandemic Great resignation, is leading to providers struggling to retain staff and trying to do more with less. Using Tribal’s Data Management Services team to carry out day-to-day operational activity can free up staff time to focus on more strategic, high-value activity, as well as guaranteeing that your funding claims get submitted no matter what changes may happen in your team.

We’ve considered just a few ways in which Tribal can ease the pressures brought on by the uncertainty and funding issues caused by the cost-of-living crisis. In this blog series, we’ll tackle numerous areas, exploring how the FE sector can drive positive outcomes and succeed.

To find out how partnering with Tribal can help you, get in touch.

You can read more about funding in FE here.




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