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College one step closer to nationally recognised award


Hugh Baird College have been named as finalists in the prestigious national Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards, sponsored by City & Guilds.

The College beat off competition from other Colleges from across the UK to make it to the last 4 in the AoC Beacon Award for Engagement with Employers category for their extensive and innovative partnership with the NHS.

Since 2015, Hugh Baird College have worked tirelessly to forge strong, productive and mutually beneficial partnerships with a range of Merseyside-based NHS Trusts. The relationships have enabled the College to tailor-make training solutions and programmes that not only enable the NHS Trusts to achieve their objectives, but also provide outstanding career opportunities for College students and staff working within the Trusts involved.

Over the last three years, the College has worked with seven NHS Trusts to increase the number of students studying health qualifications by 300% and our work is directly resulting in more Nurses being employed and gaining promotions, whilst also supporting recruitment to non-clinical NHS jobs such as porters, electricians and office-based staff. The recently opened Health, Education and Training Hub, based at the College’s St. Winefride’s Campus and run in conjunction with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, directly supports the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff whilst also improving the life chances of the long-term unemployed and our local community.

The Association of Colleges’ Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by City and Guild recognises exemplary practice in demonstrating an outstanding ability to work with and provide a direct service to employers. In particular, colleges that are effective in meeting employers’ skills needs and/or apprenticeship requirements.

Yana Williams, Principal and Chief Executive at Hugh Baird College, said:

I am extremely proud that the hard work of staff at the College and at the NHS Trusts we link with has been recognised. We have listened to the training needs and issues faced by the collection of Trusts in our partnership and have worked flexibly to address these. More importantly, we are providing our learners with some fantastic opportunities to fast track their career ambitions and ultimately realise their goals within a world renowned employer.

I would like to thank those at the NHS Trusts we work with for their commitment and dedication to exploring the variety of solutions we have implemented and for having the courage to approach and consider their traditional training issues in an innovative student centric manner.

Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, one of Hugh Baird College’s closest NHS partners, said:

One of the drivers for Mersey Care partnering with Hugh Baird College in a truly integrated way was because it gave us a real opportunity to help young people at a really vulnerable point in their lives with their learning and development in how to achieve sustainably good mental health.

We’ve lots of evidence in our work in mental health that young people who are supported to positively engage in managing their own mental wellbeing achieve better life chances than those who do not. When we combined all of this mental and physical wellbeing support in the Life Rooms at Hugh Baird College, it gave us the opportunity to combine this learning with great academic education to give the students the very best opportunities to learn skills that would take them through life. We’re now seeing over 1,000 people every month in Life Rooms Bootle which is a strong testament to its attractiveness and success.

Young people in further education are often overlooked when it comes to embedding the right skills to manage their own mental wellbeing and that’s why it’s become one of our most important partnerships. Well done to all at Hugh Baird College for receiving this recognition.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

Colleges often don’t get the recognition they deserve, the AoC Beacon Awards aim to showcase exactly why colleges are so important and reward their dedication to learners and their progress in the workforce. Colleges produce the workers of the future and it’s clear from those who have made it through to the final three that their contribution to local and regional economic development must be valued.

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