Jason Gregory, International Director, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships at Pearson, says that educators need to provide the framework for learners to hone their soft skills on the go, as industry requirements are changing rapidly in the modern world of work. This is a challenge for the teaching of technical, hard skills because they tend to have a shorter shelf life in today’s climate. Whereas soft skills – i.e. people skills, collaboration skills, attitudes and attributes – are evergreen and work to serve current and future workers well in the pursuit of professional progression.
Jason notes that employers expect learners to demonstrate proficiency in the aforementioned three key areas; however, as Jason notes, the reality is these skills are missing from the talent pool.
“We're increasing now in our own research and really seeing that virtually every job role now has some form of digital skills requirements, some information technology (IT) skills, as well. So, it’s about ensuring that we understand what the future, digital skills required for each of those job roles are to ensure the pedagogy is cutting-through.
“Employers are asking for these skills and are saying they’re missing from people coming out of education institutions. We need to have a well-rounded future skills package that covers the technical, digital, data and people skills elements.”
Jason says that in order to assist learners in developing learner knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values as it pertains to future skills is clear: adopt some more applied experiential learning methodologies and pedagogy. He adds that integrated learning is extremely valuable here, too, and it’s an initiative that Pearson assumes with its education partners.
“If you have a problem-solving task at hand, how you best learn to develop and hone the skills and attitude required to handle that task, is to apply that learned behaviour to a real-life scenario and task. For example, if you’re an engineer, you should be applying problem-solving skills to a particular task that you would do as an engineer in your real-life workplace environment.
“This really is what we do to help train teachers to adopt this experiential applied learning approach and problem-solving pedagogy, and then we create assignments and scenarios in our courseware that helps enable the application of those attitudes. I think that’s a real key aspect which sits within our BTEC methodology of teaching and learning, as well. It’s moving away from that didactic to more academic teaching and applied learning.”
The best place to start to determine how much preparation is required for PTE is for students to understand their current English skills and proficiency, and compare that to their desired score. When it comes to test preparation, it can be an uphill battle to get your students enthused and excited about the study work that lies ahead.
But with guidance from educators, students can achieve their desired score and unlock a world of personal, professional and academic possibilities. For effective PTE preparation, students should familiarise themselves with the test format, evaluate their English proficiency, have a desired test date in mind, and from there implement a robust study plan. This is something that you can help drive as an educator to ensure they’re on the right path in the lead up to their test day.
And so, to increase their chances at achieving their desired results, students can take a practice test to assess their likely score, which is a valuable way to guide their preparation and study strategies. To further explore the importance of effective preparation, there are some tips and tricks to ensure your students are set up for success. We’ve categorised these in four sections that covers tips for each key date leading up to the test:
1 month before the test.
Have your students follow the news (or watch a documentary) to assist them with sentence structure and vocabulary organisation, plus it provides excellent listening practice. At this stage, having a study plan is crucial, too.
1 week before the test.
It’s recommended that students sit at least one practice test under exam conditions – this means finding a quiet place and timing their session.
1 day before the test.
Students should have everything prepared for the test, including their identification. Being prepared a day before the test will ensure that students are relaxed and ready for the test.
The day of the test.
It’s important that students arrive on time to avoid any stresses, and that they speak and think in English on their way to the test centre to put them in the ‘test mindset’.
Additionally, educators can add another resource to their student’s PTE test preparation tool kit – the official PTE practice app. The app will help students create a personalised study plan, including a countdown to their test day. Tailored to the individual’s timeframe, the planner makes sure that everything they need to study (and revise) is addressed by the date of the exam.
The app also includes interactive practice questions, providing students with instant scores and feedback on their answers. Additionally, students have access to ‘how to improve’ guides that detail exactly that: how to improve their exam scores with actionable insights that use examples to ensure the advice is clear.
The ‘how to improve’ guides cover all parts of the test – in addition to consistent test practice, the additional content in the official app is designed to help students effectively prepare to perform their best on test day.
With globalisation, automation and advancements in technology, future skills have never been more important.
We gained exclusive access to Pearson’s Jason Gregory (International Director, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships) to gather his insights on the importance of future skills and the crucial role educators play in preparing learners for future workforce demands.
So, what’s inside the eBook?
Working together means the world can be a more resilient, capable and inclusive place: the role of all stakeholders working in unison (learners, educators, business leaders and policy makers)
Baking future skills into modern curriculum to enable an ‘always learning’ mindset
The role of educators in developing the future skills of learners
Remaining competitive with up-to-date future skills … plus more!
Beat your competitors to it — download your free copy today.
As economies in Asia-Pacific continue to flourish and develop, countries like Thailand and Vietnam find themselves in need of a larger cohort of competent, qualified professionals. According to global recruiter ManpowerGroup, Thailand lacks enough skilled workers to meet growing demand in the sales, information technology, engineering, business administration, accounting and manufacturing sectors.
Through its alignment with the expanding knowledge economy, Pearson is primed to offer educators and policymakers in the region the right tools to innovate their pedagogy and, for their learners, the skills required to thrive in today’s world.
The key is developing its Global Scale of English and professional qualifications: Pearson “really understands what the needs of the learner are, particularly in terms of the progression in their careers,” says Phil Myers, Pearson’s Head of International Product.
“It's incumbent on us to be absolutely clear in terms of what that progression and opportunity are, what the skills, knowledge and understanding are, and to make sure that we're really embedded with the employers in understanding what the elements of that progression route, so that we can make sure the courses are fully purposed.”
Tapping industry experts for insights
Pearson works with a pool of pedagogic and industry experts who are trained to understand course design and be responsive to their own research on a continuous basis. Alongside this specialist input, “a key priority for us is working in partnership with employers,” Phil says. Employers are, almost by definition, crucial to how vocational courses are structured, given that the skills learned are dictated by what they are looking for.
For this reason, Pearson has cultivated strong industry relationships to enhance the way its courses and qualifications are crafted, says Phil. “I think that partnership approach to designing courses is absolutely essential and it means that we can work very deeply with an employer and really make sure that employer needs are being met in course design.”
Jason Gregory, Pearson’s International Director, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships, agrees with that approach and underscores the role of education experts in bringing vocational training to the classroom and online. “We take all the information from the employer and interpret it and convert it into a course. That's an important part of what Pearson does with its partnership with employers.”
Practical, hands-on and career oriented
One of the main factors that sets Pearson’s qualifications apart is the emphasis on preparing learners for the world of work. As Phil explains, when designing coursework, the creators draw on their understanding of occupational standards from a range of international jurisdictions to better evaluate where best practices happen.
“We can help, advise and support employability from understanding that best practice and bringing best practice to bear in our courses. That's something which gives us a real advantage and they [learners] like that it’s available to them. It’s one of our core strengths,” he notes.
Critical thinking is one of the most sought-after skills in the modern era – many thought leaders argue that it is number one on the list in terms of future skills. Educators must play a leading role in teaching critical thinking skills to today’s learners as part of their curriculum and wider teaching methods.
In this asset, you will find exclusive, actionable insights from critical thinking experts who have conducted years of research on the topic.
So, what’s inside the eBook?
An analysis of the research on critical thinking
Tips on how critical thinking can be taught today
The importance of critical thinking
A deep dive on measuring critical thinking and the role of technology
Insights for tailoring critical thinking teaching to the individual
And a breakdown of the cultural and global challenges of teaching critical thinking
Beat your competitors to it – get your free copy today.
Welcome to episode 2 of the Art of Learning podcast, brought to you by Pearson Asia.
We're joined by Lê Thị Phượng Liên, Deputy Director of International Education - BTEC at the American Polytechnic College in Hồ Chí Minh, to discuss the power of vocational education and the importance of linking qualifications to jobs.
We introduce the American Polytechnic College (1:23), we discuss why Pearson's BTEC qualifications stand out (4:34), the importance of guidance from your education partners (6:39), student feedback on hands-on learning (9:07), and Lê Thị Phượng Liên offers her advice on implementing BTEC qualifications in your institution (10:53).
In Thailand, the high-end manufacturing sector is booming. Aided in part by the government’s support, there is real enthusiasm for specialised engineering learning, and many young Thais are looking for careers in what is becoming an increasingly competitive field.
In response, the country’s higher-education institutions, such as King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), are catering to this increase in interest.
With many younger, aspiring engineers focused on advanced fields like nanotechnology, undergraduates in the STEM disciplines are looking for additional courses to give them much-needed practical knowledge, and ultimately, an edge in the job market.
In schools like KMITL, this heightened interest in specialised education has led to an increased adoption of high-quality, practical qualifications like BTEC.
These courses, which are highly experience-based and geared towards the skills that make graduates attractive to employers, allow students who value hands-on experience and practical learning to get tangible qualifications that can really make a difference when entering the workforce.
What is BTEC?
For over 30 years BTEC qualifications have offered an engaging alternative to more academic, traditional learning models.
Based on real-life work skills and knowledge, these qualifications are more attractive to students who have a career path in mind and want the relevant experience related to their chosen field – in STEM, health, sport, business, IT, the creative industries, and more. Because the courses are focused on “learning by doing,” BTEC students work on assignments set in real-life scenarios and can put their learning into practice straight away.
Employers benefit just as much, secure in the knowledge that new graduates from BTEC programs have the relevant skills – and experience – to hit the ground running. It’s a proven strategy – according to global data, some 90% of BTEC students are employed full-time after graduating.
The courses have developed as a way to unify English with technical and vocational qualifications, giving educators a framework around which to experiment and innovate in the way they teach, and offering their students the range of skills needed to thrive in today’s competitive job market.
KMITL – a Thai educational innovator
KMITL, a research and educational institution in Bangkok, has a heavy STEM focus and its reputation for imparting high-quality vocational training makes it an ideal partner to pilot BTEC Higher Nationals, internationally recognized vocational qualifications equivalent to the first two years of a university degree. KMITL has long been an innovator in Thai education, including awarding the country’s first doctoral degree in electrical engineering, and is associated with the Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-NET).
While BTEC programs have been known at the high-school level in Thailand for some time, KMITL is pioneering its application for tertiary-level learners through new courses in Manufacturing Engineering and Management & Leadership.
The KMITL selection process for inclusion in its BTEC program is exacting, with only nine successful applicants for every 100, according to Dr. Chatrpol Pakasiri, a BTEC instructor at the institution. Students studying science, technology or engineering bachelor’s degrees are encouraged to apply.
Dr. Chatrpol has been teaching at KMITL for six years and helms the institution’s BTEC course on the principles of electrical engineering.
He says that while the BTEC curriculum is similar in many ways to the coursework he previously taught, his students benefit greatly from the practical experience, noting that those in his program directly “learn about manufacturing,” which will help them find jobs after graduation.
He adds that the new methodology, with a greater focus on self-starting and engaging learning, allows his students to “take responsibility for themselves,” which is a quality highly attractive to potential employers. He says that the course is ideal for motivated students who are prepared to work hard and many of his BTEC students are so involved in the course and value the practical aspects so highly, a simple passing grade isn’t enough for them: they are aiming, instead, to graduate with distinction.
He adds that the course is a hugely valuable additional qualification, which can be taken concurrently with their undergraduate degree courses. “It’s like having a second degree – usually if you want to have two degrees, it’s difficult to do so in different fields. Either [the students] would have to go back and get another bachelor’s degree and spend more time doing it – so in that respect it’s very good.”
Road to success
As the higher-level BTEC qualifications are relatively new to Thailand’s universities, their benefits are – for now – somewhat unfamiliar to the hiring departments of the country’s manufacturing and engineering industries.
But Dr. Chatrpol sees the qualification as having a bright future in Thailand. He is confident that as class after class of BTEC students graduate and enter the workforce, their worth will come to be known and valued by employers. “Awareness of BTEC will improve as students start to graduate and get their certificates. Then industry will get to know their capabilities,” he says.
Dr. Chatrpol says that KMITL plans to introduce additional BTEC courses into its current rotation across hospitality management, management and leadership, and business. He hopes that expanding the course options will further establish his institution as a BTEC leader in Thailand and attract top talent from across the Southeast Asian nation and beyond.