It’s been an exciting week for London South East Colleges, with the college being selected as a finalist for two separate national awards. This includes being selected as ‘commended’ in two categories by the Association of Colleges for its prestigious Beacon Awards 2019/20 AND one of its apprentices being announced as a finalist in the AoC Student of the Year Awards.

The College met the AoC Beacon Award Standard for both the Edge Award for Excellence in Real Life Learning and the City & Guilds Award for Engagement with Employers. Entries were judged against a wide framework, with colleges having to demonstrate high levels of innovation, impact and sustainability.

London South East Colleges’ entry for the Edge Award highlighted its innovative hospitality provision, which is centred on the commercially-run BR6 Restaurant in Orpington and Greenwich. This entry was deemed strong enough by judges to go through to the next round of the awards. 

Shortlisted colleges will find out in November if they have been selected to go through to the third and final round – with overall winners set to be announced in February next year.

More good news followed with the announcement that London South East Colleges’ apprentice, Lauren Polson (19) has been selected as a finalist in the AoC’s Student of the Year Awards - in the Apprentice of the Year category.

Lauren joined London South East Colleges when she was just 14. She recently completed her apprenticeship at the College’s BR6 Restaurant and has now secured an exciting role with international hospitality employer, D&D London.  

Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, Dr Sam Parrett says: “We focus on ensuring our students have the best possible experience and are fully prepared for a range of exciting careers when they leave us. It is fantastic that our successful approach has been recognised externally.

“Being awarded commended status by the AoC for two Beacon Awards and seeing one of our amazing apprentices shortlisted for Student of the Year is testament to the dedication of all our staff and students. I am delighted for them all and very much hope we are successful in the next stages of both competitions.”

Having been announced as a finalist in the AoC Student of the Year Awards, Lauren Polson adds: “I was so pleased just to be nominated for this award and can’t believe I have now reached the finals! I chose to come to college at the age of 14 as I knew I wanted to learn real skills doing something I was passionate about – and this wasn’t possible at my old school. 

“I have taken advantage of every opportunity the College has offered me in order to improve my skills.  I have worked really hard over the past five years to gain both qualifications and experience. 

“My dedication has paid off and I was delighted to secure a role with D&D London in its talent team – recruiting staff for all its sites around the UK and internationally.

“I want to inspire other young people and show them that you should always follow your passion and your career goals.”

Steve Frampton, President of the Association of Colleges, said: “The standard of entries this year was incredibly high and all the nominated students deserve praise for the contribution they make to their colleges. It is inspiring to hear the stories from a range of students and colleges each year and the awards are an opportunity to highlight their outstanding achievements. The finalists this year have done fantastically well to reach this stage and I look forward to seeing them all at the awards evening at annual conference.”

The AoC Student of the Year winners will be announced on Tuesday 19 November in an evening of celebration during the Association of Colleges’ Annual conference. The evening and annual conference showcases the ways that colleges are transforming the lives of more than two million people across England and how vital colleges are to the future of the British economy in the 21st century.

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