From education to employment

Cardiff and Vale College graded good and excellent by Estyn

The inspection report published today by Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, on the Further Education provision of Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) shows all inspection areas graded good or excellent.

Only the second FE College in Wales to be inspected against a new framework, CAVC is the first to be awarded the new Excellent grade within this, for wellbeing and attitudes to learning.

The positive report highlights the quality of the College’s work and its impact on learners, communities and employers in the region. It noted the “very clear and strategic approach to its provision with the aim of developing skilled and employable people”.

It also recognised the college as “instrumental in supporting the economic growth and skills development within the region”.

Standards are judged good across the board. The report commented on the progress learners make from their starting points and the broad range of skills that learners demonstrate and develop during their time with CAVC and teachers that “engage and motivate learners”.

An area of particular excellence recognised in the report is overall wellbeing and attitudes to learning of learners at CAVC. The inspectors noted the broad range of activities available for learners both on and off course – from participating in skills competitions to work placements, live briefs to involvement in a varied wellbeing and enrichment programme, and that many learners “thrive on involvement in new and challenging experiences”.

It states that “learners participating in external placements develop very strong work-related problem-solving skills and resilience that support their progression into employment”, with many learners developing “highly effective work skills and behaviours that support their career aspirations” and the majority developing “valuable leadership skills” and “determination, adaptability and professionalism”.

The report strongly reflects the support, respect and inclusivity of Cardiff and Vale College – the most diverse college in Wales. It highlights specifically that learners feel supported at CAVC, with the report commenting how learners are “confident that college-wide practices are effective in supporting their wellbeing” and helping them achieve their potential.

Estyn’s inspectors commented on the broad support provided by CAVC. This includes specific reference to how “more able and talented learners benefit from challenging enrichment and extension activities”; how it is developing Welsh medium and bilingual provision; supporting those wishing to develop English, Maths and digital skills as part of their course including resitting GCSE examinations; and supporting learners with statements or other additional learning needs progressing to college.

They also noted that learners “are highly supportive of one another and they respect diversity” and that “this contributes significantly to the inclusive ethos of the college.” This is reflected in achievement, as “learners from deprived backgrounds, learners with disabilities and learners from most minority ethnic groups successfully achieve their qualifications in line with the overall performance of learners at the college”.

The report also highlights CAVC’s “exceptional partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders’ and the College as ‘instrumental in supporting the economic growth and skills development within the region”. The College’s leadership team was seen as “highly focused on meeting the education, training and business needs of the region”.

Estyn noted that this focus results in a “broad range of courses that are tailored to the needs of learners, the community and employers well’, developing ‘skilled and employable people” for the region.

The report also examines how CAVC meets the diverse need of the community it serves, concluding that the College “strongly supports local community groups, and successfully engages learners who are hard to reach in education and training”. This includes reference to the vast ESOL provision the College runs across the city and the award-winning Junior Apprenticeship programme for disengaged 14-16 year olds, that has been developed in partnership with local authorities and schools.

Principal Kay Martin said “Since establishing Cardiff and Vale College we have set out to be more than simply a qualifications factory. Our goal is to develop, support and challenge individuals during their time with us to become skilled and employable people who stand out from the crowd and progress.

“We are pleased that the report recognises this – not just through striving to offer high quality education and training, but ensuring that all learners have the opportunity to participate in work placements, skills competitions and other activities that stretch and challenge them and develop their wider skills, qualifications and provide the impetus to reach their potential.”

Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale College Group Mike James said “As the College in the Capital region of Wales we work in a unique context. The region we serve has one of the most diverse landscapes in terms of economic prosperity and the communities within it – we are the most diverse college in Wales.

“We are pleased the report recognises the College is instrumental in supporting economic growth and skills development within the region and meeting Welsh Government priorities. CAVC prides itself on being an inclusive college – working with employers and supporting our local community – challenging our most able and engaging hard to reach learners. These achievements are testament to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding staff”

CAVC is the largest college in Wales and in the top five largest colleges in the UK with more than 30,000 learners each year. The further education provision inspected in this report makes up circa 30% of the Cardiff and Vale College Group total offer, which also includes the largest apprenticeship provision in the country, Higher Education courses and training for businesses across the region and beyond.

A full copy of the report is published from today, 26th February 2019, on the Estyn website.

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