No we are not talking about the alternative reality in Keanu Reeves' latest film! In this case the matrix is a prestigious national quality standard for organisations delivering information, advice and guidance (IAG) services for learning and work. This was achieved by the Advice Services team at the College of North East London (CONEL) recently.
This superb group (pictured clockwise from bottom left; Paulette Nash, Aiden Cochrane, Angela Constantinides, and Janine Thomas) operate from the Advice & Guidance Centre on Tottenham High Road, where they offer free, impartial IAG to the North London community. Enabling people to explore options and make informed choices about learning, career and employment aims. They also provide careers advice for existing CONEL students from another centre within the college. Both external and internal services already held the former Guidance Accreditation Board (GAB) standard. However, this was re-branded to become the matrix in 2002 and the assessment criteria were changed to become more delivery focused.
This meant that many procedures and documents had to be put into place in order to meet matrix requirements including a college wide equality policy, a confidentiality statement, translations and referral procedures.
After months of hard work, Paulette Nash, Head of Advice Services, and her team took part in an intensive two day assessment on 15 and 16 March. Of course, I was quite nervous says Paulette, but I knew that the service had come a long way since April 2002, and that we had worked really hard to prove that we could deliver the level of service required. The accreditation means that the Advice & Guidance Centre and the Careers Advice Centre have achieved a national standard of excellence that truly reflects CONELs lifelong learning values.
The service, funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), also delivers outreach advice and guidance services in the local community and works closely with the training offered by CONELs Orbit Information Technology bus. In addition, it runs the course information line, often referred to as a talking prospectus. It's no wonder that they are perpetually busy. Nevertheless, they always find time to smile especially now that they have made the grade!
Notes to Editors:
Advice & Guidance Centre opening times:
Monday Thursday 09.30 17.00, Friday 14.00 17.00
09.30 16.00 for an appointment with an adviser
Telephone: 020 8442 3055
Write to: The Advice & Guidance Centre, College of North East London, High Road, Tottenham, London N15 4RU
2. For further information on the Matrix accreditation, visit www.matrix-quality-standard.com.
3. For further information on the LSC, visit www.lsc.gov.uk.