Top education award for Scotland's flagship college

Successful apprentice partnership secures college coveted prize

City of Glasgow College has won this year’s Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Beacon Award in the City & Guilds College Engagement with Employers category.

It secured the coveted title for its training and apprenticeship partnership with ferry and harbour operator, Caledonian MacBrayne, (CalMac).

The Beacon assessors consider this an “outstanding project” – offering meaningful employment to young people in remote island communities as well as the deprived areas of inner-city Glasgow.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive of City of Glasgow College, said:

“Winning this particular education award is an outstanding achievement and yet another example of the excellence, innovation and inspiration that characterises Team City.

“We have a very successful partnership with CalMac which is providing practical, real life experience and benefits for our students, as well as Scottish communities, and we look forward to this continuing and flourishing.”

Christine Roberts, Director of HR for CalMac Ferries Ltd, said:

“We are delighted that our link up with City of Glasgow College has been recognised at these prestigious awards. This partnership has helped us in our commitment to increase career opportunities within the company for young people throughout our areas of operation. It has been instrumental in helping us more than double the number of Modern Apprentices we are training for a career at sea. Together we are helping to bring through the next generation of seafarers with industry leading skill sets.

The partnership between the college and CalMac has been running for over three years, training young people to work in Deck, Engineering and Catering disciplines within the ferry operator’s fleet. This provides a start in a career at sea, improves the college’s links with industry and helps CalMac support the unique island culture and communities of the Scottish west coast that depend on the service for movement of people and goods.

The college is the only training provider in Scotland to provide all the internationally mandated safety standards. But apprentices are also equipped with a range of academic and professional qualifications to start them on a career route to more senior roles as their skills and experience develop.

The assessors said the programme “clearly demonstrates how the college uses their experience of working with one employer to develop a highly responsive and innovative apprenticeship scheme, which in turn positively influenced the shipping provision for the whole sector”. This project had a significant and massive impact on the economy of the Western Isles, the employer concerned and the life chances of their learners,” they added.

The AoC Beacon Awards, which celebrate outstanding practice across further education, were presented at the Tes FE Awards ceremony for the first time.

The Awards Ceremony took take place on Friday 22 March 2019 in the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.