Gloucestershire College marked National Apprenticeship Week and International Women’s Day with a VIP ceremony at its Gloucester campus when Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Anne Milton spoke to staff and apprentices. She presented the Further and Higher Education College with the prestigious award, alongside Ian Munro, Area Director for the Association of Colleges (AoC).
Following an in-depth submission and rigorous interviews and assessments as part of the shortlisting process, the College was awarded the AoC Beacon Award for the Promotion and Delivery of Successful Apprenticeships due to its innovative apprenticeships programme.
The award judges were impressed by the success rates of GC’s apprenticeship provision, which is well above the national average, securing Gloucestershire College the enviable position as one of the leading providers in the South West. The College was also acknowledged for expanding the breadth of its apprenticeship provision and working responsively with local employers, the community, schools and business organisations.
Matthew Burgess, Principal and Chief Executive of Gloucestershire College, said: “I am delighted that Anne could take the time out of her very busy schedule in National Apprenticeship Week to present the award to Gloucestershire College. The Beacon Awards are a national event that seek to recognise the very best in innovation, creativity and practice within the sector, so this is a considerable achievement.
“To be recognised nationally for our work in this area reflects not only the outstanding outcomes for the apprentices themselves, but also the impact on the employers’ businesses and the way that the College responds to employer needs in this area.
“This award is recognition of the fantastic work carried out firstly within our Apprenticeship Unit, which leads our work in this area, and also in curriculum areas delivering programmes to our apprentices and, indeed, all areas of the College that support this activity, and I would like to thank everybody involved in this.”
After speaking at the ceremony the Minister took a tour of the College and met several current students including Engineering apprentices Fleur Roberts and George Underwood, whom she talked to at length about their work with employers and the support from GC.
Despite the number of apprenticeship starts being down nationally by 61% since the introduction of the levy, GC’s apprenticeship starts increased by 32%, with an overall success rate of 84% (national average 67% in 2015-16). Gloucestershire College works with over 600 employers from small and medium sized businesses, to locally-based, globalised organisations including Superdry, the NHS, Stuart Holmes Hair and Beauty Salon, Ellenborough Park Hotel, Poeton Industries & Amey. The College’s Apprenticeships’ provision covers Level 2 through to Degree level.