Wiltshire College & University Centre has won a coveted Association of Colleges national Beacon Award for excellence in the practical delivery of technical and professional learning.
The College walked away with The Edge Award, which recognised the delivery of practical experience at its 1600-acre Lackham campus, at a ceremony held in Grosvenor House, London, on Friday (22nd March).
The College’s programme offers students real-life situations making them highly sought after by employers. Some 96 per cent of learners who attend courses linked to the farm at Lackham move into employment after their studies.
Amanda Burnside, College Principal, said: “Our farm operates as a totally commercial enterprise and therefore students gain tested technical and management skills making them fully work ready.
“I’m delighted that this prestigious award recognises our outstanding practice.”
Students undertake dairy duties on the farm throughout their studies. They carry our harvesting, maize silaging, ploughing and grass cutting for the farm using the College’s own machinery, which includes state of the art GPS-automated tractors.
The award judges were also impressed with the way students are encouraged to engage with employers and the community. An example of this is the Lambing weekends, the second of which takes place this coming weekend, where agricultural students help to lamb more than 1,000 ewes, while also explaining the process to 10,000 visitors.
The AoC Beacon Awards, now in its 24th year, capture and celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges.
Jane Samuels, Head of Projects and Partnerships at the Edge Foundation, said: “As sponsors of the Excellence in the Practical Delivery of Technical and Professional Learning award, the Edge Foundation is delighted to find a worthy winner in Wiltshire College & University Centre.
“We were very impressed how they blend a rigorous learning programme in an increasingly technological industry, alongside the practical experience which is critical to skills development in farming and agriculture.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Colleges are inspirational places to learn because education and training is delivered by expert teaching staff in industry-standard facilities. Wiltshire College & University Centre should be proud of their award.”
This was the first time, The AoC Beacon Awards and the Tes FE Awards have been presented alongside each other.
You can see more photographs from the Beacon Awards on our Facebook page.