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@HopwoodHall College and University Centre is celebrating after picking up the prestigious Beacon Award for Widening Participation.

The college – which has campuses in Middleton and Rochdale – was named as the winner during a special ceremony held in London on Monday.

Presented by the Association of Colleges, the award is recognition of Hopwood’s relentless pursuit of ensuring everyone has access to life-changing education.

The college received the coveted nod for implementing a number of innovative and ambitious initiatives that have been extremely successful at removing the range of obstacles some people face when entering Further Education.

This includes identifying school leavers and students who have experienced mental health issues and therefore require a greater degree of support when taking those all-important next steps in their learning journeys.

These young people have been part of transition programmes to ensure that they can thrive at the college and make the most of every opportunity.

It follows the institution becoming a ‘Trauma Informed College’ and making a vow to be champions of inclusivity.

Principal and CEO Julia Heap – who attended the event alongside Safeguarding and Wellbeing Manager Tracey Marrow and Safeguarding Officer Sadia Khan – accepted the award during the annual ceremony.

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year.

The accolades seek to recognise examples of practical teaching and learning that equip people with the skills that today’s global and digital economy demands.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have received this national recognition for our unwavering goal to widen participation in our college community!

“It’s been so rewarding to implement these initiatives that have allowed so many young people to flourish in education when they otherwise might have struggled with the transition.

“This has been a cross-college effort and so many members of the team have worked tirelessly to make these innovative schemes the resounding success that they’ve been.

“This Beacon Award means so much to us all and motivates us to keep leading the way when it comes to widening participation in Further Education.”

Mark White, Interim Chair of Association of Colleges’ Charitable Trust, said:

“The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them.

“This award recognises examples of excellent practical teaching and learning.

“The work of the winning college shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.”

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