Finalists have been announced in AoC’s annual Beacon Awards, celebrating the hard work and dedication of students, staff and leaders across the country.

British Council International Award 

Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education, Southern Regional College and Burton & South Derbyshire College have made the finals of the Beacon British Council International Award

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award supported by the British Council seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of a College’s international work and the exceptional strategies to embed international activity within the broader college aims.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. This award recognises international collaboration and exchange, importantly helping to shape an international mind-set in learners. Work with partners overseas is vital to maintain our reputation and connections as the UK prepares to leave the EU.”

The Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise

LTE Group, Cambridge Regional College, Barnsley College and Sunderland College have made it to the finals of the AoC Beacon Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by The Careers and Enterprise Company celebrates outstanding example of careers education and guidance. In a world where enterprise, education and work opportunities are constantly changing, students need easy access to high quality support and information.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“These colleges have shown great innovation in highly effective engagement with schools, employers and other agencies, to provide learners with excellent impartial careers education, advice and guidance. Enabling learners to make informed choices about their progression to further study and training, including apprenticeships will have a lasting effect on the rest of their lives.”

Edge Award for Excellence in the Practical Delivery of Technical and Professional Learning

South East Colleges, Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education and Abingdon & Witney College have made it into the finals for the Beacon Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award is sponsored by Edge, the independent education charity dedicated to shaping the future of education to meet the demands of the 21st century global economy and ensure opportunity for all. It celebrates colleges which have developed high quality practical teaching and learning approaches that give students experiences that are real, meaningful, challenging, stretching and life changing.

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David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“This award showcases exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. Colleges are inspirational because the teaching delivered is accessible and students get to experience education in a relatable way. Having a curriculum that students can identify with is hugely important for developing skills that will be used long after they have left and gone onto the next stages in life.”

Pears #iwill award for Social Action and Student Engagement

East Colleges Kent Group and South West College have made it to the finals of the AoC Beacon Pears #iwill Award for Social Action and Student Engagement

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by the Pears #iwill Fund, seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of a college’s ability to engage in social action and engagement in their communities.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“Colleges have a significant role to play in preparing students to become active citizens and engage with the world around them. These three colleges have shown a really high standard of participation, curriculum enhancement and learner engagement in social action which benefits both learners and communities.”

NOCN Group Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

Barnsley College, Bridgend College, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London and Hartpury College have made it to the finals of the AoC Beacon NCON Group Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing 

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award celebrates the important work colleges are doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of their learners and staff. The rise in ill health amongst learners and the greater public is of great concern and is attracting heightened attention nationally.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“The work colleges do on wellbeing often gets overlooked. But institutions and especially these final three have shown a whole college mental health strategy that impacts on improving teaching and learning and effective support. All this great, much-needed work enables students to feel secure and able to learn.”

Jisc Award for effective use of Digital Technology in further education

Bridgwater & Taunton College and LTE Group have made it to the finals of the AoC Beacon JISC Award for Effective Use of Digital

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by JISC recognises where the effective use of technology has improved student experience, either through enhancements to teaching, learning and assessment, or through creating business efficiencies which have enabled positive change.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“Colleges excelling digitally is hugely important. With the fast-paced changes that are happening out in the world of work, colleges will need to use technology to contribute to the development of the curriculum – including equipping their students with digital skills. These colleges are not only using them for their own systems, but the learning experience aswell.”

City and Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers

Fareham College, Exeter College, Bradford College and Hugh Baird College have made it to the finals of the AoC Beacon City & Guilds Award for Engagement with employers

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by City and Guild recognises exemplary practice in demonstrating an outstanding ability to work with and provide a direct service to employers. In particular, colleges that are effective in meeting employers’ skills needs and/or apprenticeship requirements.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“Colleges often don’t get the recognition they deserve, the AoC Beacon Awards aim to showcase exactly why colleges are so important and reward their dedication to learners and their progress in the workforce. Colleges produce the workers of the future and it’s clear from those who have made it through to the final three that their contribution to local and regional economic development must be valued.”

RCU Support for Students Award

Abingdon & Witney College, Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education and Preston's College have made the finals of the Beacon RCU Award for Support for Students.

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award supported by RCU and AoC seeks to celebrate outstanding examples of student support provided by a College for a significant group of students, across a whole provision or college wide approach.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“These colleges have gone above and beyond in equipping and empowering students to have a voice, to solve their own challenges, make their own choices and to participate in their community. All have shown great dedication to fully support students into college, employment and adult life, and which enable them to achieve success and help them to transform their lives.”

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