From education to employment

The Sheffield College is awarded bronze in Pearson’s BTEC Awards 2021

Sheffield College Campus

The Sheffield College (@sheffcol) has been named as a bronze award winner in the prestigious #BTECAwards2021 that celebrate vocational learning.

The announcement for the BTEC College of the Year 2021 category was made at Pearson’s annual BTEC Awards hosted online on July 7th, 2021.

The College received the bronze award for its ‘careers not courses’ focussed ethos that prepares students to go further and has resulted in the launch of several trailblazing initiatives adapted online during the pandemic.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “I am immensely proud of our student and staff community who have gone above and beyond during the most challenging of academic years. Our students achieve so much more than a qualification and it’s fantastic to receive this recognition at a time when further education colleges are on the frontline of the pandemic skills-led recovery.”

The College’s trailblazing initiatives include:

  • The launch of the successful employer skills academies that equip students with the qualifications and skills that employers are looking for and provide a new approach to learning. The curriculum is co-designed with employers to simulate real-life work and covers the business and enterprise, construction, catering and hospitality, cyber security, engineering, animation and special effects, information technology, mental health and wellbeing and professional make-up sectors. The programme launched in September 2019.
  • Every effort is made to replicate the professional working environment. Each academy has its own designated space within the College branded by the employer sponsor. Students work on real life employer-led projects and have the opportunity to take part in workplace or industry visits and placements, workshops, masterclasses and webinars involving industry experts provided by the employer sponsor.
  • In a UK first, the College has partnered with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, connecting students with over 1,000 businesses from the region. The Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Business and Enterprise Academy provides real-life role models of successful businesspeople and is not industry-specific so the entire college is eligible to apply. So far it has engaged 1,500 students.
  • Students can also access the new Forage online work experience platform. Working with developers in Sydney, Australia, this has been designed to develop student’s skills and gain a real understanding of different roles and industries by working through these self-paced modules. Students can take part in a diverse range of remote work experience opportunities in global companies including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Deloitte to develop employability skills and gain an understanding of different roles and industries.
  • The College’s Online Employability Programme – MoveAhead, GetAhead, StayAhead – offers three unique, virtually delivered programmes catering for all levels and abilities. These develop and enhance student’s employability skills, with 60% of content designed and delivered by academy employers and stakeholders.

Nineteen category award winners were celebrated in the BTEC Awards 2021 from around the UK and internationally in subjects including business, engineering, health and social care, information technology and performing arts.

The awards were co-hosted by presenter of the United View, YouTube influencer and BTEC alumnus and ambassador Flex and sports presenter and events host Gemma Care. BTEC alumni including Academy Award-winning producer and Head of Film and Animation at ScreenSkills Gareth Ellis-Unwin, entrepreneur and founder of SB.TV Jamal Edwards MBE, and award-winning actress Lucy Fallon were among those also presenting awards.

Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson, said: “2021 has been another extraordinary year for our BTEC learners, tutors, teachers, colleges and schools and I am delighted that today we are able to come together and celebrate this year’s winners – and all of the individuals who will be awarded a BTEC qualification this year.”

She added: “The hard work and commitment demonstrated by our award winners, all of whom have achieved great things, during a time of unprecedented disruption, is extraordinary and I am proud we are able to celebrate their achievements.”  

Nearly one million learners across the globe completed BTEC courses over the past year; the career-focused qualifications are a vital route for those pursuing careers in sectors such as IT, business, the creative industries, healthcare, engineering, construction and future industries. This is especially important in the current context as the UK responds to the global pandemic and looks to kickstart projects to speed economic recovery. 

Jonathan Ledger, Skills Specialist at The Department for International Trade, commented: “I must emphasise the importance of BTEC as a career-focused type of qualification and that for me is key. This is all about delivering the right skills to the right people at the right time in the right way and BTEC qualifications do just that. For me, BTEC qualifications are a game changer. They change lives and they help people improve and contribute to business and society in a big way.  A huge congratulations once again to all the winners and all of the nominees. 

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