Pears #iwill Award for Social Action and Student Engagement


Pears #iwill Award for Social Action and Community Engagement

This award, supported by the Pears #iwill Fund, seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of a college’s ability to engage in social action and engagement in their communities. The winner will have exceptional strategies to provide transformational educational opportunities through social action and learner participation.  Assessors will look for effective and imaginative approaches to enhancing communities through student-led initiatives, especially those which benefit ‘non-traditional’ students.  Outcomes will be measured in the successful acquisition of skills, knowledge or qualifications and clear progression routes to further learning or employment for students, and impact on students and communities beyond the college. 

When completing the Stage 1 application (max 1,000 words) please take note that the assessors will be scoring equally for innovation, impact and sustainability. Applicants are advised that when constructing their submission, they consider carefully where best to place evidence to ensure the full range of the Award criteria are covered.  Applicants should look at the #iwill Campaign and the AoC Charter for Student Engagement.

Colleges that exceed the AoC Beacon Standard will be invited to submit a full project brief second stage (building on the content in the first stage application), that will provide comprehensive additional evidence such as: effective targeting of under-represented student groups, innovative curriculum or course design, highly effective learner voice systems, significant social action, or the creation of imaginative opportunities for learning.

Sponsor’s Criteria

Colleges wishing to apply for this award could consider some or all of the following:

  • Successful engagement with individuals in citizenship learning, particularly where they have experienced disadvantage or are an underrepresented group in a vocational area;
  • Working with local or regional communities, partners or employers to support the provision of imaginative opportunities that raise aspirations or employability skills among learners who can benefit;
  • Provision of comprehensive support for individual learners, particularly for those who may be experiencing significant barriers to completing their programmes, set within an effective strategy for quality improvement;
  • Adoption of good learner voice systems which encourage participation, curriculum enhancement and learner engagement in social action which benefits both learners and communities;
  • Provision of strong leadership and a sustainable whole college strategy to support and enhance social action by students, which promotes equality and diversity and ensures maximum impact on local communities;
  • Impact of the provision on the local community in terms of social action led by students, which is applicable to the wider sector and is sustainable over time.  This may include student involvement in third sector organisations and voluntary work, enhanced start-ups and local businesses, or multi-agency collaboration in local neighbourhoods.



To return back to the main Beacon Award page