I am delighted to introduce two new degree programmes at NCI the BA (Honours) in Early Childhood Education and the BA (Honours) in Adult and Workforce Education.
These are new awards developed by our team to address the growing interest in education at all stages of life and in all contexts. An important idea underpinning our approach to learning is that education is not confined to school. We learn so much in early childhood that stays with us throughout life and likewise when our school years are over we continue to learn as we progress through our career and meet the challenges of our lifespan.
It is natural to learn. This seems like an obvious statement but it is so simple we often overlook its importance. We are ‘natural born learners’ and more than any other living organism we are destined to learn all the way through life.
Early Childhood Educators are now rightfully regarded as professional practitioners who require advanced qualifications and specialist knowledge and skills. The sector is now the subject of important legislative and policy developments. It is a wonderful area to work in and requires committed educators trained to the highest level.
Adult and Workforce Educators are much in demand (try searching ‘learning and development specialist’ in the jobs websites). This is an emerging and evolving profession; ’emerging’ as there are so many new competences required in modern workforces such as collaboration, problem solving, communications, and creativity – teaching for these so-called 21st Century skills requires the most up-to-date skills and techniques – and ‘evolving’ because existing trainers have accomplished so much and there is so much research and evidence based practice that we can learn from.
Initially these programmes are aimed at those already working in the sector and wish to consolidate their experience with a recognised qualification or those in related contexts who wish to upskill to work in either of these areas. Classes take place two evenings per week and some Saturdays. There are friendly starting points for people who may be daunted by the prospect of doing a degree – in other words ‘we teach as we preach’ and take it step by step. Not everyone will want to complete the full Level 8 degree so there are also exit awards at Levels 6 and 7.
So these are exciting times for education and educators who cater for learning before and after school.