College scoops national award

The college picked up the highly-coveted ‘Engagement with Employer’ accolade at the Association of Colleges Beacon Awards.

Celebrating the best and most innovative practice among further education and sixth form colleges, the Beacon Awards were open to more than 300 providers across the UK.

Iain Nixon, executive director for commercial activity at Sunderland College, said: “We are delighted to have won such a prestigious, national award that validates the high level of guidance, support and training we offer to hundreds of employers in the region.

“We work with businesses and organisations across a range of sectors, providing specialist industry support and training to ensure employers have a highly-skilled and motivated workforce and that employees have access to first-class technical programmes that are relevant to their jobs and industries.

“The AoC judges were able to witness first-hand the work we have done in employer engagement and how this has translated into positive outcomes for the North East economy – our focus is always on the needs of the employer, and that has resulted in a growing number of businesses and industries choosing us as their training provider.

“Our success in the Beacon Awards is down to the hard work of our staff and governors, and the support of the employers we work with. We’re very pleased to have brought this accolade back to Sunderland on their behalf.”

Sunderland College works with more than 600 employers, has strategic partnerships with eight of the largest organisations in the city of Sunderland and is the sixth largest provider of apprenticeships in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area, currently supporting more than 1,300 apprentices.

It works with businesses in a diverse range of industries including advanced manufacturing and engineering, health and care, digital, and catering and hospitality, and its client portfolio is rapidly expanding.

The college’s growing list of partners includes SAFC, Sunderland Care and Support, Hays Travel, Gentoo Group, Sora Group, Faltec Europe, Calsonic Kansei, Liebherr and ZF.

Carole Stott MBE, Chair of the AoC Charitable Trust, said: “Every year the Beacon Awards receive many excellent submissions and the high standard made it hard for assessors to determine the winning application in each category.

“All the entries demonstrated the commitment of colleges to create the best possible experience for their students. Sunderland College can be rightly proud to be named as the winners of their category.”