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Colleges celebrate winning national AoC Beacon Awards for excellence

19 June 2019

Twelve colleges across the UK have been honoured at the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Beacon Awards for excellence in providing high-quality technical and professional education and training. The annual awards for further education and sixth form colleges were announced by comedian Jon Culshaw at a celebration event at the AoC Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham. The AoC Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges. They reward colleges that go above and beyond in providing high-quality technical and professional education. Award winners must also offer something exceptional to students and the wider community. Each of the winning colleges have developed a programme that benefits the wider local community, helping young people achieve skills for the workplace or making education and training accessible to more local people. The AoC Beacon Award winners include: Bridgend College (Award for Developing Transferable Skills, sponsored by AQA) for its ‘Be all that you can be’ programme. This involved work with students from a very deprived local area and embedding enterprise and employability across the college. An enterprise manager at the college inspires students and staff in every faculty and at every level to seek opportunities to build their confidence and transferrable skills. Gateshead College (Award for Careers Education and Guidance, sponsored by the Careers and Enterprise Company) for a programme in which the college’s curriculum and careers staff are trained to use their knowledge of the local employment market to direct their careers resources. Students are offered a range of workshops and support to help them get into work including practice Skype interviews, using social media and personal branding. Weymouth College (Award for Sport in the Curriculum, sponsored by Vtct) for inspiring students to achieve, develop and excel through sport, health and fitness. The college’s school of sport and public services provides and promotes sport and fitness activities and competitions for all students at the college and the wider local community. Dame Pat Bacon, Chair of the AoC Beacon Awards, said: “The winning colleges are outstanding representatives of the excellent work happening across the country. It’s a privilege to be part of an awards programme that recognises the energy colleges put into supporting their students, staff, employers and local communities.” Mike Davis, Chief Assessor for the AoC Beacon Awards, said: “The high standard of submissions to the AoC Beacon Awards often makes it very hard for the judges to choose the winners. The winning colleges can be proud to receive this award for demonstrating their commitment to create the best possible experience for students.” Further education colleges provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. They prepare over three million students with valuable skills for the workplace, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen the local, regional and national economy.Colleges are inspirational places to learn because education and training is delivered by expert teaching staff in industry-standard facilities. From basic skills to postgraduate degrees, colleges offer first rate academic and vocational teaching, in a range of professions including engineering, hospitality, IT, construction and the creative arts. Sixth form colleges provide high-quality academic education to 16 to 18-year-olds enabling them to progress to university or higher level vocational education.