The fifth annual Leading Learner Voice Awards has named the Blue Cat Initiative and Tresham College as providers of the year.

The Awards, which took place in London yesterday, were hosted by the familiar further education giants NUS and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS).

Blue Cat Initiative won the award for Work Based Learning and Adult and Community Learning. Mike Smith-Clare, co-founder of the group, said: "We worked so hard for 10 years with the most vulnerable people. We're very proud that their voice has been heard."

Tresham College won the Providers of the Year, General Further Education, Sixth Form, Independent Specialist Colleges category.

Graham Wooldridge, learner Involvement co-coordinator, and Elis Deuchar, from Tresham College stated: "We are really proud. This reflects the work of some fantastic young people. Thanks to LSIS, other colleges and past colleagues."

The awards enable staff, learners and providers to be recognised for their contributions and achievements. These cover a diverse range of independent specialist colleges and sixth forms, including those in adult community learning, offender learning, work-based learning and learning disabilities and/ or difficulties.

Ann Ruthven, head of learning and learner support at LSIS, said: "The award categories highlight the changing and evolving priorities facing the Further
Education and Skills sector... In May LSIS received the results of an internal audit...there were three primary areas that were benefiting from our support: improving the quality of the sector; improving the skills and capability of professionals in the sector; and helping providers improve outcomes for their learners. These awards are an example of how we are achieving the latter."

Other winners of Awards were:

  • Learner Representative of the year (new for 2012) – Lukas Churchrowski, Middlesbrough College
  • Learner Voice Practitioner of the year - Sarah Laszio, Derwen College
  • Leading Learner of the year - Stephen Walker, Southport College
  • Student Governor of the year - Jayne Morris, Shrewsbury College
  • Principal or Senior Leader of the year - Ken Warman, BSiX BrookeHouse Sixth Form College
  • Innovative Approaches to Learner Voice (new for 2012) – Cornwall College and Students' Union
  • Social Cohesion and Civic Participation - The BSiX Political Academy, BSiX Brooke House Sixth Form College
  • Health and Well-being - Five Ways Initiative, Highbury College - Most Improved Provider - North Warwickshire and Hinckley College

Natasha Spencer 

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