Past Projects: Other

In addition to our work with the European Social Fund, Petroc has a solid track record of securing and managing funding from a number of different sources. Our experience is varied; from building relationships with European institutions to encouraging teenagers to volunteer in their local community. If you are interested in working with Petroc on future opportunities, find out about joining our Petroc Subcontractor Framework.

Personal Mentor Network I & II

Funding body: Cabinet Office through the Plymouth & South West Peninsula City Deal
Total project value: £1,140,000 across two contracts
Dates: December 2014 – December 2019
Summary: The Personal Mentor Network provided bespoke one to one support for unemployed 18‐24 year olds across the whole of Devon and parts of Somerset and Cornwall. To qualify for support, the young person needed to be claiming a jobseeking benefit and after being referred by their Work Coach, a young person could access up to 48 hours of face to face support delivered over 12 weeks to help find their way in to new employment. Should they have gained a job in that time, they could then take advantage of up to 26 hours of in work support to help them get to grips with their new routine. Petroc managed a partnership of delivery organisations who provided mentors to support over 1600 young people during the course of the project.
Impact: For young people accessing the service in 2018 and 2019 there was a 37% employment rate. When reviewing their skills and abilities, participants rated themselves an average of 11 points more favourably on completion than when they started. Personal Mentor Network has also left a legacy for the partner organisations involved who have developed strong relationships with local JobCentre Plus offices and connected with local services for housing, health and employment.

European Pathways to Employment for Disabled Young People

Funding body: EU Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2
Total project value: £22,898
Dates: September 2015 – August 2017
Summary: European Pathways to Employment for Disabled Young People was a Strategic Partnership involving Petroc and Duveholms Gymnasiesärskola, a special school in Katrineholm, Sweden. Partners used their experience in their respective countries to review and investigate the most appropriate way to prepare disabled young people for meaningful employment. Over the course of 2 years staff from both institutions took part in a number of transnational meetings where they were able to visit each other’s college and speak to local students and employers to understand the different ways that learners with special needs prepared for their work experience. Based on a review of a range of models including social enterprise, in-house internships and supported internships, they developed a Career Pathway which set out a flexible framework for developing employability skills and tested a range of resources which can be used with students before, during and after work placements to support them as they develop their skills. Both partners tested these workbooks with their students including 3 Petroc students who were able to travel to Sweden in May 2017 to undertake an intensive 5 day work placement with large supermarket chain ICA. 
Impact: As a result of this project staff and learners co-designed a suite of resources which can be used by others to support young people with learning difficulties as they move into work-based learning see Sharing Best Practice for more details. Additionally, the close partnership working has also led to further co-operation between Petroc and Duveholms Gymnasiesärskola whereby UK students have travelled to Sweden to undertake employability training since the end of this project.

Becoming A Designer in Europe

Funding body: EU Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2
Total project value: £17,483
Dates: October 2016 – October 2018
Summary: Over the course of this project Petroc students who are studying for the Foundation Degree in Illustration are took part in a number of exchanges and workshops with students from Germany, Italy, Malta, and Poland. This allowed them to engage not only with their European peers but also with established creative practitioners in each country. Each exchange involved a number of activities related to different design fields including architecture, fashion, graphic design, web and user experience design.
Impact: Through the project participants broadened their professional horizons and contributed to a website that helps other emerging creatives understand how to follow a career path within the design industry that could lead them to work across Europe. Ski Martin, a Petroc tutor involved in the trip said: “This was an amazing opportunity for students to work collaboratively bringing up many unique challenges and preparing them for real world situations.”

Equality & Diversity Good Practice

Funding body: Skills Funding Agency via the Equality Challenge Unit
Total project value: £21,370
Dates: January to July, 2015
Summary: “Pathways to Success: progression pathways for learners with learning difficulties or disabilities”
Petroc received one of 29 grants awarded by the Equality Challenge Unit to projects developed by further education providers across England. The equality and diversity good practice fund was provided by the Skills Funding Agency to support projects that embed, sustain and spread good practice that helps learners to participate and achieve in FE, and develop the capacity of the sector to meet the public sector equality duty.
Petroc Supported Learning curriculum staff interviewed past and current students, parents, guardians and employers about our provision for students with learning difficulties or disabilities, in particular Community Link Vocational programme, the Petroc Social Enterprise projects and Supported Internships with a view to streamlining the learner journey and improving programme content.
Impact: Projects and curriculum staff then attended the Further Education Equality Knowledge Exchange Conferences in London and Manchester. We were delighted to be able to present the results of our research as part of the discussion panel which gave us the opportunity to share the best practice and development ideas we had identified. This funding has enabled us to spend time reviewing our provision and make changes to benefit our students, as well as introducing processes to ensure ongoing review and sustain the outcomes into the future.
Contact: To ask any questions about the research project, or to ask about the research report and resources, please contact Jenn Fuller at

Study Programme Best Practice

Funding body: Department for Education
Total project value: £31,947
Dates: November 2014 – March 2015
Summary: “Unlocking Potential: Sharing Innovative Approaches and Overcoming Barriers in Delivering 16-19 Study Programme Principles”
The introduction of Study Programmes for 16-19 year old learners in 2013 gave Further Education Colleges the freedom to design education programmes that include work experience and are tailored to our students’ individual needs and career aspirations.
Petroc secured funding from the Department for Education to evaluate our success and share best practice in the following areas:

  • Promoting supported internships for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.
  • Delivery of work experience as a core aim for Level 1 students.
  • Overcoming barriers to delivering work experience within rural areas where there may be little choice of employers and placements.

Impact: Petroc hosted an Unlocking Potential conference on Thursday 26th March 2015 at the mid Devon campus in Tiverton. The conference disseminated the results of DfE funded research focusing on work experience and the study programme, and also shared best practice. The conference offered a number of workshops which helped employers to learn more about unlocking the potential of a new workforce, giving them the opportunity to feed back into the programme and help shape our future workforce. A research report and a number of useful resources were developed to support these aims.
Contact: To ask any questions about the research project, or to ask about the research report and resources, please contact Jenn Fuller at

National Citizen Service 2013+

Funding Body: Cabinet Office/NCS Trust
Total Project Value: £8,733,000
Dates: November 2012 – December 2014
Partnership: 22 partners including FE colleges and third sector organisations
Geographical Coverage: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole, Somerset, North Somerset, Bristol, BANES, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.
Summary:  NCS is a skills-building programme for 16 and 17 year olds. As well as an action-packed residential during which young people work on teambuilding and self-sufficiency, the latter part of the programme asks participants to develop and deliver a social action project which gives something back to their community.
Impact: Following on for the success of pilot activity in 2011 and 2012, in which the college was also involved, Petroc led a consortium to deliver NCS across the entire South West region. In total 6040 young people started the programme with 5456 completing, representing a 90% retention rate. The value of volunteering undertaken by these participants exceeded £606,000, in addition to the actual funds raised, which directly benefited a range of local charities and community groups across the South West.

Tipping the Scales & The Seafood Academy

Funding Body: European Fisheries Fund, Marine Management Organisation and North Devon FLAG
Total Project Value: £50,000
Dates: July 2013 – December 2014
Geographical Coverage: North Devon
Summary:  Whilst North Devon has a significant commercial fishery, much of the catch landed locally is sold outside of the region. These projects aimed to raise the profile of locally-caught fish amongst the public and local hospitality businesses.
Impact: Petroc held courses in the preparation and cooking of locally-caught seafood for beginners through to masterclasses. There was also an art project that was delivered in local primary schools. A fish recipe book was produced with recipes donated by celebrity chefs and illustrated with the artwork from the primary schools. A further project called the Seafood Academy was developed which consisted of four practical sessions preparing locally sourced fish and shellfish, and four workshops that ranged from understanding the local catch to working with local businesses to develop their marketing plans.

Summer Programme

Funding Body: Big Lottery Fund
Total Project Value: £26,000
Dates: February 2011 – December 2011
Geographical Coverage: North Devon
Summary: Many learners with severe learning disabilities and complex needs in North Devon become isolated from their friends and lack social contact during the long summer break. The rural nature of the area and lack of public transport compounds this problem, and staff find that learners suffer significant regression during this period. The project sought to trial a programme of activities part-funded by Direct Payments received by parents/guardians for the care of young people with such needs to assess the demand and support for support during the summer. 
Impact: The project was immensely successful, supporting 35 young people through the summer.  We supported not only existing learners but also some young people who were due to start at the college in September. This helped to ease their transition to further education. Overall the project provided routines and patterns for the learners, which were very beneficial, and successfully addressed the identified issue of regression due to rural isolation. There were also additional benefits for parents, as it addressed the problem of arranging care during the summer, provided respite and/or enabled them to continue with existing commitments (e.g. employment).

Vtalent Year

Funding Body: vInspired
Funding Stream: Vtalent Year
Total Project Value: £165,000
Dates: August 2009 – July 2011
Geographical Coverage: North Devon
Summary: The project enabled the college to provide full-time volunteering opportunities to vulnerable young people aged 16-25, especially those who were NEET.
Impact: The project provided valuable work experience to 24 young people, many of whom faced multiple barriers to participation (e.g. SLDD, low skills etc.). It successfully re-engaged them in positive activity and helped them to develop employability and life skills before securing positive progressions upon completion of the volunteering placements.

Staff and Learner Mobility

Funding Body: Leonardo da Vinci, EU Lifelong Learning Programme
Total Project Value: Various
Dates: September 2008 – August 2015
Geographical Coverage: Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, France, Sweden.
Summary: Petroc successfully applied for funds to support staff travel to undertake research, share effective practice, and develop relationships so that Petroc learners could travel abroad to undertake work experience in a variety of European countries.
Impact: Staff visits led directly to the successful establishment of a number of Leonardo da Vinci learner mobility projects, allowing over 300 Petroc students to complete work experience overseas. This included sports learners travelling to the Netherlands and Hospitality and Catering learners travelling to Sweden. In addition, the projects provided opportunities for staff to learn about the delivery contents and methodologies utilised in different settings in different countries in order to inform curriculum developments and improvements in teaching and learning at Petroc.

Skills Analysis

Funding Body: EQUAL, European Union
Total Project Value: £2,823,000
Dates: September 2004 – March 2008
Partnership: 14 partners including third sector organisations, private training providers, and FE colleges.
Geographical Coverage: South West England, with links to Belgium, the Czech Republic and Poland.
Summary:  Skills Analysis was a research programme carried out throughout the South West to explore the preconception that once aged 50+ a worker is no longer effective, and to influence employers in the recruitment and retention of older workers. The project developed a number of innovative activities to analyse the competencies of older workers and deliver training to address issues. The project also linked with other similar EQUAL-funded projects operating in Belgium, Czech Republic and Poland to share experiences and best practices.
Impact: The main impact of the project was the successful development, trialling and mainstreaming of a number of tools to support older workers, especially those facing redundancy. These included competency assessment toolkits to help individuals identify their skills and develop CVs and interview techniques; as well as innovative online materials for delivering 40 NVQs and a wide variety of short courses to the over 50s. The project also facilitated the exchange of best practice at a transnational level and was able to raise the profile of issues facing older workers, as it engaged a number of local MPs and MEPs who posed questions in the European Parliament and Houses of Parliament.