CAVC only Welsh college to win prestigious Beacon Award
Cardiff and Vale College is the only Welsh college to be awarded with a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award. The College was announced as winner of the Overcoming Deprivation award, sponsored by the Welsh Government, by Lord Willis of Knaresborough at the AoC Annual Conference in Birmingham on 16 November. The College also came second in the AQA Award for College/School Partnerships.
The AoC Beacon Awards highlight the breadth and quality of education in Colleges throughout the UK and increase understanding of Colleges’ contribution to UK educational skills policy and economic and social development. They are open to all further education colleges (FE) in the UK but only fourteen colleges nationally were given awards.
Mike James, Principal and Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale College said, “To be the only Welsh college in the sector to win an AoC Beacon Award is a huge achievement and shows that the Cardiff and Vale College is off to a flying start. At a time where youth unemployment is at its highest level, this national recognition is just reward for the dedication of the staff in getting this innovative programme off the ground. In the space of a couple of years we have already helped scores of young people back into the education system and improved their employment prospects.”
The College has worked in partnership with Social Services and Careers Wales to design the award-winning Entry to Vocational Studies programme (EVS) which provides vocational skills and, where appropriate, basic skills and personal development for young people from deprived backgrounds. This isn’t the first time that this course has attracted recognition; in March the College won a social inclusion award at Careers Wales Most Valued Partner Awards for the project and in April the course was awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to Looked After Children’ by Cardiff Social Services.
In May, the EVS course reached the shortlist for the ColegauCymru award for ‘Innovative use of curriculum planning to meet collaborative arrangements’. This award recognises the shared vision between the College and its partners and the flexible nature of the curriculum, which was tailored to the needs of the learners. In October last year the College became one of the first Further Education Colleges in Wales to be awarded the Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark for Looked After Children and Care Leavers in Further Education.
The EVS programme, which is unique in Cardiff, focuses on vocational areas such as automotive, hairdressing, beauty and retail and each week, the students are given an additional four hours of tutorial support which combines individual with group work. The programme raises the aspirations and confidence levels of young people so that they will progress onto further study or employment.
Roger Marriott, Chief Assessor for the AoC Beacon Awards said, “Cardiff and Vale College is recommended for the successful support provided for young people experiencing significant deprivation through life-style and family breakdown. The College has fostered a successful multi-agency approach to overcome personal and life-style barriers to learning resulting in changed behaviour and good progression to further learning for vulnerable young people.”
Denise Olander, Business and Professional Faculty Manager, said, “This award was very much won through the true partnership work between the College, employers, Careers Wales and the Leaving Care team. Together we have worked tirelessly to help change the life opportunities of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Cardiff. Morrison’s food company, the Celtic Manor Hotel and Resort and WE DOWDS Shipping have each given time and resources and supported our learners by providing a variety of opportunities to develop the workplace and employability skills of the young people.
“Winning this award has also been instrumental in recognising the hard work and commitment of our young people who were previously not in education, employment or training (NEET). It also recognises the dedication and high levels of skills of all our college staff to engage and develop young people in all our local communities.”
Thirteen learners achieved ten qualifications on the EVS programme last year, and progressed to Level 1 courses or onto employment. The EVS programme has expanded this academic year to take 42 learners. The College and its partners aim to significantly increase the number of successful young people as a result of this expansion and also hope to engage more companies that can support the further development of employability skills and enable learners to discover a new world of career opportunities.
The College also came second in the AQA Award for College/School Partnerships which recognised the work that has taken place over the last seven years in developing and improving specific programmes for pre-16 learners in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Cardiff and Vale College will be presented with their Award by John Hayes MP, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at a national presentation ceremony due to be held at Westminster on 8 February 2012.