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Lakes College wins Best Industry Initiative award

The college, staff and apprentices were nominated for four separate categories - and made it to the top three in all of them.

News item details

  • News date: Oct '21
  • News author: Jenny Barwise
  • Latest news
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Best Industry Initiative

Lakes College staff are celebrating their achievements after scooping a top prize for their work with employers at the prestigious Golden Apple Awards.

The annual awards ceremony aims to represent and showcase the very best in education and learning including schools, colleges and sixth forms.

Staff members and apprentices from Lakes College, based in Lillyhall, Workington, were nominated for four separate categories – and made it to the top three in all of them.

The ‘Best Industry Engagement Initiative’ award was presented to the college, for an initiative headed up by Victoria Morgan, the college’s Business Engagement Manager.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the college began an employer engagement project which aimed to get a better understanding of employer needs.

The results of the initiative were successful with the majority of apprentices continuing their learning, two apprentices under redundancy were placed with new employers, and 160 apprentices were recruited throughout lockdown for September start – with a further 32 being recruited in health and social care sectors.

The college also heavily promoted its free Distance Learning courses, which can be studied online and free of charge, 1089 learners completed one of these courses with a 94% pass rate.

Lakes College see employer engagement as key to creating a more responsive system to the sectors it serves. The college plays a key role in the West Cumbrian economy and its communities and works in partnership with over 700 employers throughout the region.

Last month, around 200 apprenticehsips were secured through the college.

Victoria Morgan said: “On behalf of Lakes College , I am really delighted to win this award. As a community technical college, our commitment is two- fold to support our local economy and also provide opportunities for young people starting out on their careers. In September (2021) our employers have recruited over 200 apprentices in one month above the 1,000 that are currently in training. Employer resilience and support throughout the pandemic has been outstanding and we are committed to the part we play in the local community. I am proud to have won this award on behalf of the college and be recognised for our industry engagement.”

College tutors Lisa Iredale-Smith and Rebecca Lock, and apprentice Nikita Wilson, were finalists in three other categories.

Lisa Iredale-Smith was shortlisted for Best Teaching Professional as an Early Years Lecturer, Rebecca Lock for Best Educational Professional Newcomer, and Nikita Wilson for Best Apprentice, after overcoming a life-threatening illness during her studies.

Lakes College Principal, Chris Nattress said: “We are extremely proud of all four of our finalists, as well as having the honour of being awarded ‘Best Industry Engagement Initiative’ for our work with local employers – something which is at the heart of what we do here at Lakes College to serve our West Cumbrian communities.”

Lakes College sponsored two award categories at the prestigious awards, which are organised by Newsquest Cumbria.

Mr Nattress awarded the best Secondary School category and Best Student.

Watch a video of the ceremony here