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Lakes College highly commended in prestigious Beacon Awards for Employer Engagement

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  • News date: Apr '21
  • News author: Liam Waite

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LAKES College has been commended for its best practice and innovation.

The college is one of eight to have been praised in the category for College Engagement with Employers, in the Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards.

The awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges. They are awarded every year by AoC to provide recognition for excellence and innovation, acknowledging the talents of staff at all levels. They highlight the breadth and quality of education in the college sector.

Lakes College principal Chris Nattress said: “I’m delighted that our excellent work with employers has met the demanding criteria for Commended Status within the AoC Beacon Awards.

“The Beacon Awards are of 25 years long standing and are a badge of genuine excellence. Our Commended status is testimony to the excellent work the college does in partnership with our many hundreds of employers of many different types and sizes in our region. Brilliant work.”

AoC’s membership includes more than 200 colleges in England, including general further education, sixth form, tertiary and land-based colleges. It supports, represents and protects the interests of its member colleges, as well as the rest of the FE sector.

The College initiated a specific Employer Engagement Project in order to meet employer needs and support during the COVID-19 National Lockdown.

The project commenced in March 2020 and concluded in July 2020. The project group comprised: the Deputy Principal, the Director of Apprenticeships and Training, Business Development Manager, Marketing Manager and Quality Manager.

Following a thorough consultation with our employers, two strands of work emerged which would specifically support with them during lockdown.

1. Apprentice Workstream – collaboration and support to ensure apprentices and learners are able to continue their learning, and secure employment to meet specific employer needs, thereby ensuring continued opportunities within COVID19 conditions.

2. Innovation Workstream – a rapid response to meet employer and their workforce needs in relation to continued professional and personal development during a forced lockdown, including coverage of mental health awareness and childcare.

The aims of the project were met very successfully:

  • The vast majority of apprenticeships continued their learning
  • Several apprentices at risk of redundancy were placed with new employers
  • 160 apprentices were recruited for September start dates
  • 1089 learners completed distance learning courses with a 94% success rate