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Petroc receives Commended Status for AOC Beacon Awards

Petroc College is proud to have reached the ‘Commended Status’ phase for all three of our AOC Beacon Award entries!

Jisc Award for Effective Use of Digital Technology in Further Education​
City & Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers​
British Council International Award​
Petroc Principal and CEO, Sean Mackney, said, “This is really exciting news for our team here at Petroc! We are the only college to be Commended in three AOC Beacon Award categories, which is a real achievement in itself. It is, of course, a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our curriculum and learners, as well as our relationship with employers. Fingers crossed to now reaching the ‘Finalist’ phase.”

The ‘AoC Beacon Awards’ programme aims to demonstrate and promote the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve throughout the UK. It focuses particularly on innovative and exemplary teaching and learning practice, provision which encourages and supports students to approach challenges positively and creatively, supporting learning and continuous improvement through sharing best practice, and promoting pioneering approaches to equality and diversity.

Jisc Award for Effective Use of Digital Technology in Further Education​

Following analysis of the SAGE schools re-opening report in May 2020, Petroc identified an opportunity: if you could model how social distancing and bubbling impacted the numbers of staff and learners who would be required to quarantine in the event of an outbreak, you could give real insight into how to keep learners learning and students safe under COVID. We sought a university partner to develop the concept. Our local university has world-leading expertise in AI and data modelling and was already working on similar modelling within hospital wards. We engaged the AoC to share and develop with other colleges, which attracted City and Guilds’ support. The concept was simple: colleges entered some of the variables about their community infection rates, and some of the choices they would make about bubble sizes, social distancing, and timetabling. The tool then showed likely infection and required staff and learner self-isolation. The concept was trialled with AoC member colleges, garnering valuable feedback to refine the tool. Colleges saw the value and have accessed it to inform management of their COVID-safe operations and adaptations. Its use exemplifies the best of modern FE colleges – socially-valuable, working in partnership, caring for learners.

City & Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers​

Petroc began its collaborative partnership with the local healthcare trust six years ago, offering education and employment opportunities to many individuals within the healthcare sector. Curriculum at the college is informed through a robust process of collaboration with employers, ensuring that both qualifications and work experience placements are fit for purpose and equip learners with the skills and experience required to progress into strong career pathways within the local economy.

With Health and Social Care being a growing employment sector within the county, the college’s longstanding partnership with the local healthcare trust, significant investment in facilities and focus on community, all place the college in the position of being the provider of choice for local and regional employers seeking apprentices, employees, and a source of training for existing staff.

The college is integral to the community, providing facilities for training Covid volunteers through the Rapid Care Academy, collaborating with emergency services through the 999 Academy, facilitating employment opportunities to students with learning difficulties and disabilities through Project Search, and offering a full Adult Nursing Degree in partnership with a university and the healthcare trust.

British Council International Award​

As a college with many years’ experience in European mobility, we have sent over 900 students, accompanied by over 200 staff, on over 70 trips. We have visited 10 different European countries and worked with 18 Host Partners.

Our catchment area is quite isolated and primarily rural, with a high proportion of small businesses that lack the capacity to provide meaningful work experience opportunities that support young people to develop their aspirations and employability skills. Erasmus+ has given our learners the chance to experience a range of training and employment options that widened their horizons and opened up doors that had previously been closed to them. They are able to add something unique to their CVs.

Student ages have ranged between 16 to 54 years, with some of them never having travelled abroad before and we had a mixture of mainstream students and those with learning difficulties and disabilities (SLDD).

Although this academic year has seen Covid have an unprecedented effect, and we saw only 3 of our 12 planned trips go ahead before all overseas travel came to an end, we have not considered this a failure but an opportunity to show our resilience.


20 November 2020


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