Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education has received an Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for excellence in Widening Access to Higher Education, sponsored by Gateway Qualifications.
Employers and community partners work with the college to ensure that the courses available through the college match the needs of the local area. After a review of the courses on offer, 15 higher education programmes with poor recruitment and results for students were removed and replaced with those more appropriate to the needs of the area.
The AoC Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges. They reward colleges that go above and beyond in providing high-quality technical and professional education. Award winners must also offer something exceptional to students and the wider community.
Employer endorsement of courses means that students work on projects set out by employers to tackle local and regional issues and have better access to internships and work placements to develop employability skills.
Debra Gray, Principal of Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, said: “We work extremely hard to serve the people of Grimsby and our success rates place us among the very best in the country. We are proud to receive this award for our work in Higher Education, we have fantastic staff and fantastic facilities. This award is proof that young people and adults don’t have to leave their home, friends or job to be able to get a superb degree level education.”
The judges praised the college particularly for the 24-hour opening of the higher education (HE) building and its facilities. Students are also offered the possibility of Skyping staff late in the evening, allowing them the flexibility to study when it is convenient for them.
Carol Snape, Chief Executive of Gateway Qualifications, said: “Having had the pleasure of working closely with a number of AoC Beacon Award winning colleges, and seen first-hand how the recipients benefitted and how other colleges learnt from their award winning projects, I was delighted that Gateway Qualifications was able to once again support the awards.
“With our proud heritage of widening participation and commitment to empowering learners by providing accessible qualifications, our Beacon Award seeks to encourage colleges doing innovative work to truly widen participation in learning.
“In our award winner we were looking for a college that took this principle and implemented it in its widest context; offering effective and imaginative approaches to attract and motivate learners; particularly those with personal or social barriers; resulting in the successful acquisition of skills, knowledge or qualifications for further learning or employment.”
Dame Pat Bacon, Chair of the AoC Beacon Awards, said: “Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education is an outstanding representative of the excellent work happening in colleges across the country. It’s a privilege to be part of an awards programme that recognises the energy colleges put into supporting their students, staff, employers and local communities.”
Mike Davis, Chief Assessor for the AoC Beacon Awards, said: “The high standard of submissions to the AoC Beacon Awards often makes it very hard for the judges to choose the winners. Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education can be proud to receive this award for demonstrating its commitment to create the best possible experience for its students.”
The college was announced as a winner by comedian Jon Culshaw at the Association of Colleges Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham.