Bridgwater & Taunton College shortlisted for TES Professional Services Team of the Year Award - Bridgwater & Taunton College

TES FE Awards 2020 has shortlisted Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Business Development Team for Professional Services Team of the Year Award.

The Busniess Development Team (BD), that currently works with over 1,000 employers, from local micro-businesses to global enterprises, is helping the College to realise its vision to be a world-class college of further and higher education by developing a raft of responsive, flexible apprenticeship programmes that directly address local workforce needs and create fantastic employment/progression opportunities for local people.

A March 2019 Ofsted inspection graded the College ‘outstanding’ in five key areas, most notably Leadership & Management, Apprenticeships and Adult Learning Programmes, reporting that:  “Partnerships with employers and other stakeholders lead to excellent opportunities for learners. ….. College leaders are highly skilled at working with international, national and local employers to plan and develop a curriculum that takes account of the future direction of industries.”

A key focus for the BD Team has been apprenticeship growth. Despite a declining demographic among 16-18-year-olds, and against national trends, it has seen apprenticeship enrolments increase by 18% year on year since 2012, and by the end of 2017/18 had 2512 apprentices on programme. Latest figures show a staggering 28% growth rate and an overall projected timely achievement rate of 80%.

BD’s success is attributable to:

  • An experienced, industry-aware team of highly motivated professionals, with a customer-focused DNA, who are conversant in Apprenticeship reforms, acting as both support and consultant to employers
  • A responsive, flexible and strategic approach unconstrained by the published prospectus
  • Proactively seeking to understand businesses’ skills training needs
  • Helping employers to identify Levy opportunities
  • Engaging with wider stakeholders – industry, Government, LEP, County/District Councils, university partners, awarding bodies and sector-specific organisations – to ensure business priorities are aligned
  • Effectively managing client portfolios through a single point of contact
  • Working collaboratively and sharing best practice with others.

Outstanding examples of BD’s response to identified business needs include a nationwide coaching apprenticeship with British Gymnastics; a new degree apprenticeship to fulfil EDF Energy’s urgent need for world-class procurement professionals; and a unique collaboration with the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to upskill 50 healthcare assistants in the face of an acute nursing shortage.

BD were the natural choice to spearhead new T Level industry placement activity, leveraging employer relationships to create not only 1200 relevant, meaningful one-week work placements across 560 employers, but also 300 industry placements of 45 days’ duration. The impact is already clear, with a number of learners – some with ALS and SEN – progressing from work placements/supported traineeships to apprenticeships and permanent employment.

The work of the College’s BD Team is having a hugely positive impact in a region with no university of its own and an acute shortage of higher-level skills. New, employer-led, vocational routes to Levels 3 and above are raising aspirations among non-academic and disadvantaged individuals, resulting in greater productivity, increased STEM participation, higher standards and almost zero unemployment.

If you would like more information on the services our business development team can provide, along with their contact details, visit

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