We’ve been commended for 2 AoC Beacon Awards!

Cambridge Regional College are honoured to announce that we have been commended in two categories at the prestigious Association of Colleges, Beacon Awards.

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Our first commendation was for The City & Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers. We were nominated for this award owing to our response to the immediate and emerging needs of employers during and post pandemic. In April 2021, Cambridge Regional College (CRC) implemented a new and innovative approach to providing support, creating The Business Skills Centre.

The Centre’s aim is to provide a one-stop-shop for employers looking to recruit young people. A successful bid enabled CRC to secure £750K of funding over 4 years. As a result, existing staff roles were widened, and new staff recruited, enabling the new Business Skills Centre to focus not just on apprenticeship recruitment but also on:

• providing an advisory service to support those new to apprenticeships and those looking to access Government incentives

• the creation of careers videos to encourage young people to consider roles in sectors with skills shortages

• the delivery of a careers fair for primary school children to raise their aspirations and later in the day, for key stage 4 and 5 to enable employers to identify talent and offer interviews

• delivering employer showcases with employers in their organisation to attract talent

• working with student services to develop a personal development portfolio, ensuring students on study programmes develop the employability skills that employers need in addition to qualifications.

The wider engagement with employers has seen additional benefits, with more employers offering to deliver talks to students, four key employers becoming strategic partners offering wider support to the College, to staff and to students; and employers engaging in forums to help the College shape future curriculum. As a result of the one-stop-shop, employer satisfaction has further improved, new companies have taken on apprentices, employers have maximised apprenticeship incentives, and students have secured industry placements, apprenticeship opportunities and job offers.

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Our second commendation was for The Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning. Our Green Team were nominated for their work supporting adults with profound and complex learning difficulties. Helping them to gain valuable work and personal skills, continuing their learning, collaborating with partners on a range of local projects and enhancing green spaces for community use.

Each project is planned to support students to develop adulthood skills & to develop greater independence whilst nurturing their talents and interests. Students demonstrate real gains in their confidence, skills, and valuable experience of working in the real world. Our learners conducted tasks such as ground clearance, habitat management, pruning and tree planting, providing a unique opportunity for students to improve their wellbeing, physical & mental health. This initiative brings together college, community, and individual students. All learners take part in fulfilling, meaningful and rewarding work that leads to real gains for their confidence and skills, including progression to further study and related employment.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education (FE) colleges. It is managed by AoC and run through AoC Charitable Trust – a registered charity.

The aim of the awards programme is to demonstrate and promote the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve. The commended and winning case studies will be used to increase understanding of colleges’ contribution to educational skills policy and economic and social development.

Beacon Awards – www.collegeawards.co.uk

Cambridge Regional College – www.camre.ac.uk

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