Skills and Education Group Award for Social Mobility and Widening Participation

This award supported by the Skills and Education group seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of a college’s ability to reach out and widen participation. The winner will have well established and exceptional strategies to target underrepresented groups and/or provide transformational educational opportunities targeted at ‘non-traditional’ FE college students. Assessors will look for effective and imaginative approaches undertaken to attract and motivate learners. Outcomes will be measured in the successful acquisition of skills, knowledge or qualifications and clear progression routes to further learning or employment. It is likely that the target group will be adults and local, but they could also be located regionally or nationally.

When completing the first stage application (max 1,000 words) please note that the assessors will be scoring on innovation, impact and sustainability. Inclusion of information to address the AoC Beacon Criteria will enhance the likelihood of success.

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 groups, innovative curriculum or course design, highly effective learner support systems and 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 learning, particularly where they have experienced disadvantage or are an underrepresented group in a vocational area;
  • Working with local or regional partners or employers to support the provision of imaginative opportunities for learning that raises individual aspirations or employability skills;
  • Provision of comprehensive support to meet individual learners’ needs, particularly for those who may be experiencing significant barriers to completing their programmes or are in danger of disengaging from the learning process;
  • Adoption of innovative teaching approaches to meeting the learning and social/personal needs of learners, including the use of imaginative learning materials to motivate learners;
  • Provision of strong leadership to support and enhance outreach and widening participation initiatives, which impact on local communities and social mobility;
  • Impact of the provision on the local community in terms of social mobility. 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.

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