AoC Beacon Awards

The AoC Beacon Awards, launched in 1994, capture and celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges. They are designed to "promote the interdependence of further education colleges, business, professional and voluntary organisations to their mutual advantage, through highlighting excellence and sharing best practice".

The 2016/17 AoC Beacon Award winning colleges were announced by comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw on 16 November 2016 at AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition. A full list of winning and shortlisted colleges is available on our website.

All assessors provide detailed feedback on each application which we are happy to share with you via telephone, with the aim of helping colleges to improve the prospect of their submission being shortlisted.

2017/18 Programme

We are in negotiation with current and potential sponsors regarding the award categories for the 2017/18 programme.  The awards will be divided into three main categories:

The full prospectus for the 2016/17 awards can be downloaded for information on the categories that were available.

AoC Beacon Awards 2016/17 Prospectus and Criteria (PDF,3.78 MB)

Case studies

Case studies based on each winning project will be available in the Autumn.  These are based on the college's original application and the assessors' report and give a good overview on how the college established its winning project, what the benefits have been to learners and how it can be replicated.  They are also useful documents to show the level of detail required for applications.  Examples of past projects are available on the AoC Beacon Awards Case Studies page.

Why apply?

Colleges benefit from the high regard in which the awards are held, which is good for their reputation and prestige. We run national online, radio and print PR campaigns, which reach 8.5 million people, to promote the winning colleges.

Each year the awards are presented at a prestigious Beacon Awards National Presentation Ceremony, to which MPs and other dignitaries are invited, as well as college staff and principals.

All colleges applying for AoC Beacon Awards are able to request detailed feedback on their applications, not just winning colleges.

Testimonials from past winners and interviews with former AoC Charitable Trust President Lord Willis of Knaresborough and Steering Group Chair Dame Pat Bacon are available to view on the dedicated Why Apply? section of the website.

Also available, for reference, is the podcast run by the Chief Assessor providing advice and guidance on how to apply for the 2015-16 awards, containing useful information on what makes a good application.