City Road building

Our News

15 September 2011

Cardiff and Vale College shortlisted for two prestigious Beacon Awards

Cardiff and Vale College has made it on to the shortlist for two prestigious Beacon Awards, for its innovative and inclusive approach to 14-19-year-olds and for its work with tackling deprivation.

The Association of College’s (AoC) AQA Beacon Award for College/School Partnerships is open to all further education colleges (FE) in the UK who have forged successful and sustainable partnerships with local schools.

The CAVC’s Vale sites have spent the last seven years developing and improving specific programmes for pre-16 learners. Working with schools, councils and training providers across the region under the Welsh Government’s Learning Pathways agenda, the number of pupils on vocational courses has rocketed from 150 to more than 700.

The College’s Pathways courses allow school pupils to choose vocational courses with strong progression routes to work and study. A range of college and school based courses are on offer, for example in Engineering, Hospitality, Construction and Hair & Beauty, that give pupils the benefit of specialist teaching at College and continuity within school.

“We aim to integrate the learners into College life, and the vocational pathways on offer link with the College FE curriculum so that learners can progress to full or part time study or related employment,” College 14-19 Co-ordinator Stacey Long said. “We are the largest and most awarded 14-19 provider in the sector.”

Next month a team of three AoC judges will visit the College’s Barry site to assess provision for 14 to 19-year-olds. They will meet strategic stakeholders and head teachers from local schools.

The judges will visit classes in Catering, Beauty and Construction and participate in eight focus groups where they will meet students and staff which will feature provision for NEETS, Learning Pathways, provision for pupils with special educational needs, Welsh medium provision and faith network primary schools. A buffet lunch will be provided by the College courtesy of Hospitality & Catering students from Barry Comprehensive.

Meanwhile, the College’s Cardiff sites have also been nominated for the AoC’s Welsh Government Award for Overcoming Deprivation. This shortlisting recognises the College’s work to tackle NEET and hard to reach 16 to 19-year-olds in Cardiff.

A new course, Entry to Vocational Studies (EVS), was developed in partnership with social workers, Careers Wales learning coaches, local education authority managers and voluntary organisations. The course is designed to help young people gain nine qualifications, which will enable them to progress successfully onto a Level 1 course at the College, enter work based learning or gain employment.

Lessons are held in Essential Skills, with one-to-one support sessions with one vocational day a week where students can choose lessons in Automotive Engineering, Hairdressing or Beauty Therapy. Activities have included a five day training programme at a working fire station, workshops with police, healthy living and financial awareness training and activities with the Royal Navy.

Forty-two learners have enrolled on to the course since 2010. Many are progressing to higher level education and training.

The success of the EVS programme has meant it will grow in 2011-12 to three groups, with extra options of Construction and Business Administration across both the City Road and Trowbridge sites. 

Business and Professional Faculty Manager, Denise Olander said, “I do not want to pre-empt the judging but to be shortlisted in itself is a reward for the dedication of the teachers and management staff involved, Social Services, Careers Wales, Morrisons, Celtic Manor Resort and DOWDS Engineering. All of them supported our learners, giving them many opportunities and positive experiences and providing a first step into working in a commercial environment.  Maria McCarthy who recently won ColegauCymru Teacher of the Year, has done amazing work with EVS learners. These people have helped to change the lives of many disadvantaged young people.”

Beacon Award winners will be announced in November.