Bridgwater & Taunton College celebrates success at Beacon Awards 2021 - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) have been honoured with an award at the prestigious Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards 2021.

The AoC Beacon Awards recognise high-quality technical and professional education and training excellence – highlighting the best and most innovative practice across the UK.

Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said:

The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. The award recognises the very best collaboration, support and education and training that is delivered by expert teaching staff. The work of the winning and highly commended colleges and their partnerships show how vital colleges are to the equipping the future workforce and their local and regional communities.

BTC were honoured to receive the City and Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers, announced by Julia Belgutay, Head of Further Education at Tes, at a celebration event at the virtual AoC Annual Conference.

In a period of just 15 years, BTC has progressed from the administration of an ailing land-based college to the management of substantial national apprenticeship contracts in Water Environment Worker (WEW) for key sector organisations such as the Environment Agency (EA), National Trust and the Canal and River Trust. The delivery of an entirely new Standard to a number of brand-new employer partners has required a whole-college approach from tender activity through to delivery, management and evaluation, and this has been so successful that the apprenticeship is now built into the EA’s recruitment strategy, with three cohorts planned each year.

In responding to the EA’s workforce needs, the College has implemented innovative and effective digital training materials that not only respond to the EA’s wider aims of reducing their carbon footprint and minimising travel, but also address a combination of apprentices’ incident response commitments, home life obligations and Coronavirus lock down restrictions. The apprenticeship is entirely employer driven, providing an effective response to the EA’s need to create a workforce that is competent, safe and fully trained to recognised industry standards, whilst also aligning fully with regional and LEP priorities for productivity and growth.

Rachel Jacobs, Operations Manager at the Environment Agency said,

Since the introduction of the Water Environment Worker Apprenticeship in February 2020 Bridgwater & Taunton College have provided exemplary course management and support for our Environment Agency apprentices. Each learner is supported by a Training Assessor who understands their needs as individuals, providing additional support if required. This helps ensure inclusivity and creates a positive learning environment for our employees.

Principal of Bridgwater & Taunton College, Andy Berry, said,

It is incredible to be recognised for our engagement with employers. The focus on the creation of employer partnerships means we can focus on creating solutions to fill industry specific skills shortages and enable companies to develop the skills they need to grow.

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