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College celebrates link with employers

PUBLISHED: 17:05 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 01 July 2010

VQ Day Employer Awards.

VQ Day Employer Awards.

Peter Walsh

A college which every year helps provide thousands of students with the qualifications needed to succeed in the world of work has celebrated the vital role employers play in equipping apprentices with a wealth of skills and experience.

A college which every year helps provide thousands of students with the qualifications needed to succeed in the world of work has celebrated the vital role employers play in equipping apprentices with a wealth of skills and experience.

City College Norwich has held its VQ Day Employer Awards 2010 to in a bid to celebrate not only the vocational achievements of its students, but also the employers who make it possible.

Business leaders from across the city and beyond were invited to a breakfast buffet and awards ceremony at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, which was held yesterdayon VQ Day - the annual national celebration of vocational awards, now in its third year.

The event was part of a bid by the college to highlight the importance of the employers who play such a pivotal role in supporting vocational qualifications and who have made an exceptional contribution to supporting vocational learning.

Six of the nine awards at the ceremony went to employers after nominations were made by the college's Employer Partnerships Team.

Corrienne Peasgood, Vice Principal of Student Services and Partnerships at the Ipswich Road-based college said 94 pc of its students studied for vocational qualifications and praised the “commitment” and “support” of employers in helping them do what they do.

She said: “This was a really important day for us. We're celebrating VQ Day at the college to celebrate the employers as much as the students. We couldn't do vocational qualifications without you.”

A spokesman for the college said employers worked with them in a “multitude of ways” to help provide training and skills for students. Ways in which employers work with the college include offering apprenticeships and work placements and having people come into the college to give talks or demonstrations to students.

He said: “We wanted to put the spotlight onto employers who make these vocational qualifications possible and celebrate those that have really done great work to improve skills both of our students and their employees.”

Hugh J Boswell, an insurance risk and financial services firm based at Carrow Hill in Norwich, won the Support For Apprenticeships Award after it successfully incorporated apprenticeships within its training strategy and provided excellent support and development for apprentices.

Alan Edwards, head of operations, said the company, which currently has two apprentices, had worked with the college for more than 20 years and enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership.

He said: “The great difficulty in any business is finding the right people so when we can get someone in whose got raw talent and develop and grow them it has got great benefits to your business.”

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital won the City College Norwich Vocational Qualifications Higher Level Skills Award. The award was won for work to develop Foundation degrees in Health Studies and in Public Sector Management.

Julia Walting, the hospital's training and development manager, who received the award, said: “We're really pleased to have been able to develop the Foundation degrees in Health Studies and Public Sector Management and delighted to have won this award. It's important that staff who traditionally might not have been able to develop their skills and knowledge have had this opportunity.”

Olivia Fleck, 20, from Poringland, who completed NVQs in Beauty Therapy Levels 2 and 3 at City College Norwich, won the Apprentice of the Year Award, after making outstanding progress through apprenticeship training and is now working with Stenna Line cruise ships.

She said: “I didn't think I would win the award but it was nice to.”

She said employers played a vital role in helping students gain the experience they needed to succeed in the workplace.

She added: “It helped give me confidence and just to progress your skills.”

Award winners

Employer Awards

Award 1: Support for Apprenticeships Award - for a company or organisation that has incorporated apprenticeships within its training strategy and provided excellent support and development for its apprentices. Winner: Hugh J Boswell, an insurance risk and financial services firm based at Carrow Hill in Norwich.

Award 2: Business Benefits of Learning Award - for a company or organisation that has effectively used a training intervention to deliver direct business benefits in ways that make a difference to that organisation's priorities. Winner: Axa Insurance Ltd.

Award 3: Education-Business Links Award - for a business which has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to working with the college/and or schools to promote training and career opportunities within this sector. Winner: Mulberry Bush Day Nursery based in Wymondham.

Award 4: Higher Level Skills Award - for a company or organisation that has demonstrated commitment and support for developing higher level skills within the workplace (Level 4 and above). Winner: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Award 5: Skills for Life and Work Award - for a company or organisation that has worked to improve the skills for life and work of reading, writing, numeracy, and ICT among its workforce and successfully improved the basic skills of its workforce. Winner: Lee and Plumpton, a home and office furniture manufacturer based at Old Buckenham near Attleborough.

Award 6: Small Business Commitment to Learning Award - for any small business (50 employees or less) that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to training and provided opportunities for its employees to gain relevant vocational qualifications. Winner: Pentaco Construction Ltd, a building contractor based on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate.

Individual Learner Awards

Award 7: Apprentice of the Year Award - for an individual apprentice who has made outstanding progress through apprenticeship training over the past year. Winner: Olivia Fleck, 20, from Poringland who completed NVQs in Beauty Therapy Levels 2 and 3 at City College Norwich.

Award 8: Train to Gain Employee of the Year Award - an employee who has achieved excellent outcomes through Train to Gain in improving the skills in ways which have contributed directly to improving business performance. Winner Louise Nicholls, 39, from Stratton Strawless who completed an NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing at City College Norwich. She is now studying for her Level 3.

Open Award where employers have been invited to nominate

Award 9: Learning in the Workplace Champion Award - for any individual - could be managing director, HR/training manager, or an individual employee, who has championed learning within their workplace, promoting the benefits of learning and encouraging and supporting others to get involved. Winner: Eileen Wakefield, Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People.

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