Bridgwater & Taunton College won the Apprenticeship Programme of the Year at the annual Tes FE Awards 2019.
The College moved quickly to help develop the skills apprentices need to pursue a career at one of the country’s biggest construction projects for a generation.
Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset will deliver the first two new nuclear reactors built in the UK for over two decades. Construction began last December and electricity is due to start being generated from the new reactors in 2025. There will eventually be 4,000 workers on-site including 1,200 steel fixers.
The College, which is half an hour’s drive from the power station, will train 300 apprentices over a three year period. This is in collaboration with construction company Bylor, a joint venture between British and French firms which is responsible for the main civil engineering contract at the site. There are currently only 600 steel fixers in the UK with an average age of 56 years old, so the College’s training is helping to fill an acute skills gap.
With half of the current apprentices having left low-paid positions elsewhere to sign up, the College’s role in the project is not only meeting a national need, but also helping those in the rural communities around Somerset into secure, full-time employment.
The judges said BTC demonstrated innovation in its response to the skills needs of the major development on its doorstep. They added:
Bridgwater & Taunton College has risen to the challenge investing in new capabilities at the College, along with the development of new national qualifications to support the needs of industry.
Winners attended a black-tie event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on Friday 21 March, hosted by the stand-up comedian, writer and presenter Dave Gorman. More than 700 attendees celebrated and showcased the most exciting ideas, the best practice and the most inspiring teaching and leadership to be found in the FE sector.
This year’s Tes FE categories and winners are as follows:
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Annette Bruton
- Professional Services Team of the Year – Belfast Metropolitan College
- Teacher of the Year – Samantha Jones, Bedford College
- FE Leader of the Year – Paul Phillips, Weston College
- Apprenticeship Programme of the Year – Bridgwater & Taunton College
- Specialist Provider of the Year – National Star College
- Adult & Community Learning Provider of the Year – Redbridge Institute
- Training Provider of the Year – Skills Training UK
- FE College of the Year – Bridgend College
- Sixth-form College of the Year – Huddersfield New College
- Overall FE Provider of the Year – Redbridge Institute
For more coverage of the awards, profiles of the winners and photographs from the evening, please visit tesfeawards.co.uk or pick up a copy of Tes magazine, available in newsagents from 29 March.