From education to employment

College achieves Wales’ best ever work-based learning inspection from Estyn

COLEG CAMBRIA has reached new levels of excellence in work-based learning and delivery of apprenticeships.

The college received the best work-based learning (WBL) inspection in Wales to date from Estyn, the education and training inspectorate.

The ambition, skill and enthusiasm of learners, economic impact, staff progression and burgeoning links with industry heavyweights across North Wales were praised, as was the leadership of chief executive David Jones and his management team.

Cambria and its partners – including Jones Bros civil engineers in Ruthin, NACRO, Pendine Park Care Organisation, Redrow Homes, Total People, and Plato Training – are the fifth largest provider of apprenticeships in the country.

Mr Jones welcomed the report and said Cambria – which has sites in Northop, Wrexham, Deeside and Llysfasi – will continue to work hard to further improve its offering and retain its position among the elite.

“The result of this inspection reflects the hard work of staff and the strong relationships we have built with some of the finest training providers and companies in north and mid-Wales,” said Mr Jones.

“We offer such a variety of programmes in areas as diverse as upholstery, retail, engineering and manufacturing to business administration and law, and all of them are at a high level of quality and care.

“Importantly, we work with our learners to ensure the traineeship, apprenticeship or work-based learning course they take is going to help them to find the best possible career when they leave us.

“I would like to thank our employees, the Board of Governors and the many incredible organisations we work alongside for helping us to achieve yet another excellent inspection result.”

John Clutton, chair of the governing body at Coleg Cambria, added the results were testament to the “clear and consistent” progress made since 2013, when the institution was borne of the merger between Yale and Deeside colleges.

“There has been significant and steady growth since that time,” said Mr Clutton.

“Not only in the size and stature of Cambria but the strong relationships made with some of the leading names in industry, companies and educators who have collaborated with us on this journey to excellence.

“Well done to all of the staff, the students and the management team, who have a positive vision for the future and are delivering brilliant results year on year.”

Inspectors highlighted the “consistently strong” rates at which learners achieve their apprenticeship frameworks, adding that senior managers provide “clear strategic direction” for the delivery of Cambria’s work-based learning contract with Welsh Government.

The report added: “The provider’s self-evaluation processes are highly effective and have a clear focus on improving learner outcomes and experiences. The provider has formed outstanding working relationships with the broad range of employers it works with, and as a result, outcomes have remained consistently high over the last three years as learners develop the level of practical skills and theory knowledge that enable them to sustain employment.

“The chief executive officer has very strong links with employers and key strategic groups, which enables the provider to develop customised, responsive provision which meets employer needs and plays a valuable strategic role in the regional economy.”

Leading North Wales organisations working in partnership with Cambria congratulated the college on another outstanding report.

Among them was Mario Kreft MBE, proprietor of the award-winning Pendine Park Care Organisation in Wrexham.

“Our ongoing partnership with Coleg Cambria has been of great benefit in ensuring we have an appropriately qualified and skilled workforce to work in social care which is now seen by the Welsh Government as a foundation sector for the economy of Wales,” said Mr Kreft.

“The glowing praise contained in the report published by Estyn is richly deserved because Coleg Cambria has yet again set a new benchmark for other further education colleges to aspire to.”

Karen Jones, Group Human Resources Director at Flintshire-based Redrow Homes, added: “Many congratulations to Coleg Cambria on their excellent Estyn Report. 

“We are delighted to be working with Cambria on developing innovative and flexible programmes for the workplace and are proud that the inspectors have recognised the strength of their approach and their willingness to understand our business priorities and the requirements of modern construction.”

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