Bricklaying Student - North Warwickshire & Hinckley College

Star Units Project

“Starring role for colleges”

Currently National Vocational Qualifications do not acknowledge exceptional performance. The Star Units of Credit Project aims to remedy this by identifying and crediting apprentices and learners who demonstrate excellence with Star Units of Credit. The thinking behind the Project is that recognising and rewarding exceptional performance stretches and motivates learners, and gives employers a means of distinguishing excellent individuals.

The first phase of piloting saw over 30 candidates awarded with Star Units at a celebratory presentation event in July 2007. In September 2007 the second year of piloting began. Five colleges are currently piloting various models, including North Warwickshire and Hinckley College which is working with small construction companies to reward superior performance in bricklaying, carpentry and joinery. Learners exhibiting exceptional performance will receive Star Units of Credit. These qualifications are awarded by City & Guilds, which is a leading partner for the Project.

Dawn Whitemore, Vice-Principal at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College describes the impact on the College: “Star Units are having a significant impact on the students. The Project has raised aspirations, improved motivation and created a positive competitive element within classes. Students want the chance to be the best they can now that they have seen how this can be demonstrated. College staff are also highly motivated as the project has proved effective in encouraging students to actively push themselves to succeed.”

Having been involved for two years, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College are now looking into the possibility of extending the pilot to incorporate Painting and Decorating programmes. They have also recently confirmed their interest in introducing Star Units into Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Catering and Business Administration programmes.

Dawn’s aim for the College is eventually to introduce Star Units of Credit into all areas of the curriculum so that every student has the opportunity to demonstrate excellence: “The Star Units initiative is a valuable tool for raising skills standards so vital for our economic development. The sooner we can see these Star Units embedded into all areas of the curriculum, the sooner we will see more students being able to differentiate themselves to employers.”