Welsh-based further education institution, Gower College Swansea, has scooped a top accolade at a national awards ceremony.
Gower College Swansea won Apprenticeship Programme of the Year at the annual Tes FE Awards, which recognises the best further education organisations supporting learners across the UK. Tes, formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, is one of the leading media outlets for the education sector.
The college was commended for developing high quality apprenticeship schemes for local industries, and specifically its work with one of the world’s most recognisable steel producers, Tata. Gower College Swansea then cultivated strong links with other businesses, including Huntsman Corporation and Vale Europe, to provide each with high quality apprentices – benefitting both employers and learners.
Judges specifically recognised Gower College Swansea’s response to solving Tata’s shortage of science skills. The college not only developed a level 3 apprenticeship in laboratory and industrial science but went one step further, developing a level 4 higher apprenticeship in life-science industries.
The college then worked innovatively to secure further progression for the pathway and reached an agreement with Swansea University to allow students to go on to the second year of their chemistry undergraduate degree programme – the first chemistry pathway of its kind in the UK.
The college has also had immense success in promoting girls and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) apprenticeships. In doing so, the college has supported disadvantaged female apprentices and visited local schools to encourage more girls to pursue careers in STEM.
Paul Kift, Director of Skills and Business Development at Gower College Swansea said: “Being judged to have the best Apprenticeship Programme in the UK is testament to the efforts of our learners, my colleagues, and the college’s employer partners. We strive to provide our students with fantastic opportunities and have worked incredibly hard to build strong relationships with businesses who share our appetite for developing the best talent. Our vision is to lead the way in education and training for the learners, employers and communities that we serve – this award demonstrates that others feel that we are making strong progress towards that.”
Gower College Swansea is on track to be recognised further for its apprenticeship efforts having been shortlisted for no fewer than three UK awards (the joint most nominations of any UK organisation) at the FE Week and AELP AAC Apprenticeship Awards. The college has been nominated for digital apprenticeship provider of the year, engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship provider of the year, and legal, finance and accounting apprenticeship provider of the year. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, July 8th, 2021.