Real life learning opportunities offered by Cardiff and Vale College praised for being among the best in the UK

16 Jan 2020

Cardiff and Vale College has been recognised as one of the best colleges in the UK for providing real and not just realistic learning opportunities to its many learners.

The College has been commended in the Association of Colleges Beacon Awards in the Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning category. Widely known as the ‘College Oscars’, the prestigious Beacon Awards recognise Further Education institutions that go above and beyond in their service to learners and the wider community.

CAVC has a whole college approach to ensure its provision is inspirational and drives forward aspiration. The College strives to deliver truly 21st Century demand-led vocational and academic education and skills training, supporting economic development, creating real community prosperity and new business opportunities.

To this end, CAVC has redesigned its curriculum to embed real and meaningful activities, ensuring Further Education, Higher Education and Work Based Learning are all offered to meet the needs of the Capital Region. It has developed links with local employers and local experts to ensure learners gain valuable work experience and vocational learners are prepared to have the knowledge and entrepreneurial skills that will add instant value to any employer.

The College’s facilities are industry-standard and state-of-the-art, and many operate as professional concerns. This allows students to learn and train in real and not just realistic environments, tackling real life problems while learning from industry experts.

These include salons and spas, restaurants, a bakery and butchery, Cardiff International Sports Campus, Automotive Centre, the renowned International Centre for Aerospace Training, a Creative hub and construction centres. Students are also encouraged to take work experience and live brief opportunities with local employers and hone their skills by entering competitions.

The results of this approach are showing. Last year nearly 90% of CAVC learners progressed on to further learning or employment within three months of completing their course and 850 progressed on to university level study.

For the last two years, CAVC has submitted the highest number of entrants to the WorldSkills competition than any other college in Wales – more than 100. In recent years the College has seen students compete in Brazil and Budapest and in 2019 two learners represented the UK in the WorldSkills finals in Russia.

The Junior Apprentice programme which offers vocational pathways to 14 to 16-year-olds has contributed to the decline in the number of people neither in education, employment or training (NEET) in Cardiff from 8% in 2012-12 to 1.6% in 2017-18.

Future plans to keep provision current and relevant to the needs of the region include the development of a training hotel and a new advanced manufacturing centre in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Kay Martin, Principal of Cardiff and Vale College, said: “It is fantastic to receive this commendation from the Beacon Awards panel.

“At CAVC we strongly believe that we have to provide real life learning experiences in order to create skilled and employable people – realistic environments are simply not enough. They have to be real.

“This commendation reflects to excellent work of our industry expert staff across the College and I am hugely proud of them all. It also shows how employers from across the region have made a huge effort to provide excellent experiences for our learners and I thank them for that.”

(Pic credit: AoC)