A team of inspectors visited each college and a range of employers. Discussions were held with key staff from the employers, including human resources managers, area and local union learning representatives, as well as senior managers and essential skills tutors from the colleges involved. In total, 30 teaching sessions were observed across 20 employers. In each of the colleges, focus groups were held with students from a range of employers, approximately 97 learners were interviewed and 206 learners were observed during the evaluation.
In November 2010, the Inspectorate evaluated the provision for essential skills in the workplace provided to employers by the six area-based further education colleges through the colleges’ own economic engagement or by the Union Learning Fund administered by the Northern Ireland Congress of Trade Unions.