Laura Marulanda-Carter

I have worked in further and higher education colleges for the last five years and in that time have progressed from tutor/lecturer to course co-ordinator, curriculum innovation lead and now Head of Curriculum.

I work for the Milton Keynes College group at the South Central Institute of Technology, one of only twelve Institute of Technology’s in the UK and lead the design and development of their Level 4 and 5 curriculum offer. These programmes specialise in digital technologies (cyber security, software development, data analytics, networking/cloud, games and animation) that support adult learners to develop their skills in the industry in a way that is inclusive, sector leading and employer driven.

As the first in my family to graduate with a BSc in Information Management and Business, I started my career as a researcher after being awarded a full-funded scholarship to explore human-computer interaction at Loughborough University. Working with the Welsh Government, I investigated the impacts of email stress and its management in public sector organisations. I co-authored papers at the SQM Conference and Journal of Systems and Information Technology before passing by viva voce. My real passion though was guest lecturing for graduate degree students and the responsibilities I had for pastoral care as a community subwarden. I knew immediately that I wanted to help people learn.

I started my own business as an academic tutor, supporting some of those less fortunate to thrive and re-engage with the learning cycle; stretching and challenging those who were capable of more than they had ever thought to achieve. I knew I was helping a few, but soon realised I had to do more at scale to make a real difference. As I watched the digital industry that I loved be misunderstood as ‘too hard’ or ‘complicated’, I made it my mission to reinvent what the digital curriculum looked like. I soon realised how many people were being put-off such an amazing career because they lacked confidence in their own ability to learn new skills such as coding, networking, maths and security. My goal was to change the way these people see learning and give them the confidence to learn how to learn.

Upon joining Milton Keynes College I wanted to take on more responsibility and prominent leadership in the Institute of Technology bid. For the last two years it has been my role as Curriculum work stream lead for the project to develop new and innovative curriculum products, engage and build relationships with employer partners (local and national) and design employer-centered project briefs to inspire the next generation of digital visionaries. I am passionate about learning and lead by example. I secured funding from the Education & Training Foundation to carry out new research on the value, and importance, of embedding maths and english in full-time study programmes, as this was evidently a barrier to many young people’s motivations for progressing to Higher Education study. My research explored the impact of current practice and made recommendations for improving outcomes at local and national strategic levels. I graduated from the University of Sunderland with an MPhil in Education in 2019. Alongside my academic research ventures, I am also a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert; working with different apps and tools to create new teaching and learning strategies. Similarly, I love to get involved in shaping the content of digital curriculum as a content writer for Pearson and frequently blog for Information Age and Mirus IT encouraging all types of study including apprenticeships.