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Cardiff and Vale College wins prestigious Beacon Award for its innovative work to embrace equality and inclusion

Cardiff and Vale College has been recognised as the best college in the UK for its work to promote fairness, respect, equality, diversity and inclusion and engagement across the communities it serves.

The College has won the Association of Colleges Beacon (AoC) Award in the National Centre for Diversity Award for the Inclusive Leadership category. Widely known as the ‘College Oscars’, the prestigious Beacon Awards recognise Further Education institutions across the UK that go above and beyond in their services to learners and the wider community.

CAVC was just one of ten colleges celebrated at the Beacon Awards, and the only Welsh college to win one.

Serving one of the most diverse communities in Wales, CAVC is strongly committed to promoting diversity and inclusion. In 2021 the College moved from 12th place to second in the National Centre for Diversity’s Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces Index and won College of the Year at the Centre’s Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement (FREDIE) Awards.

CAVC consistently collaborates with its stakeholders to ensure its strategic direction, policies and practices are designed to promote FREDIE. This partnership working has enabled the College to develop innovative and impactful projects and support structures to transform learning opportunities across the Capital Region.

Projects include working with Velindre Cancer Centre to launch the UK’s first Health and Cancer Awareness Resource for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and its REACH+ central hub for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners. REACH+ has proven so successful that is has been rolled out across Wales.

The College has also transformed an unused area of land in the heart of Butetown into Canal Park, a top-class multi-sports facility for the community. Its Families Learning Together programme offers a range of activity-based courses in the community designed to enable parents and carers to support their child’s learning while developing their own skills.

Staff training is also designed to increase awareness of FREDIE, and 99% of learners say they feel they are treated fairly and with respect. Success rates are strong across the College and there is no significant difference for any protected characteristic.

Cardiff and Vale College Group Principal Kay Martin said: 

“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised as the best college in the UK for our ongoing commitment to ensuring all the communities we serve feel respected and included.

“As the College which operates in one of the most diverse and vibrant communities in Wales, we are hugely proud this result. It means a lot to us because we believe ourselves to be at the heart of the communities we serve and that all students and staff are part of the CAVC Family.

“This award is a testament to the people right across the College who work so hard to ensure that CAVC takes an ell-encompassing approach to managing equality, diversity and inclusion across all that we do and I’d like to thank both learners and staff for that. I would also like to thank the community groups we work with to help serve them better”

Mark White, Chair of AoC’s 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.”

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:

“I would like to congratulate Cardiff and Vale College on their fantastic achievement. The Welsh Government is a proud supporter of the AoC Beacon Awards. I’m so pleased to see the College has been recognised for the excellent work it does to support the community it serves.”

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