Stephenson College has won the ‘Employer Engagement’ Award at the annual TES (Times Educational Supplement) FE Awards 2018. 

On Friday 23rd February members of the college’s Motor Vehicle department were in attendance at a lavish awards ceremony held at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by the comic and actor Alan Davies, where more than 800 attendees celebrated and showcased the most exciting ideas, the best practice and the most inspiring teaching and leadership to be found in the further education sector.

Judges recognised Stephenson College’s strong partnerships with a number of both local and national employers, most notably world-renowned vehicle manufacturer VOLVO.

The unique working relationship was highlighted by the panel thanks to the significant and measurable contribution the college has made to the employer over the last several years.

In a bid to better meet its business needs, VOLVO Trucks made radical changes to its apprenticeship programme from 2013 through to 2016 with a strong focus was on aligning standards with business requirements, training on the latest technology and changing the teaching model.

VOLVO employees became college employees, as lecturers, while still spending a number of weeks each year in the industry to keep their knowledge up-to-date. Industry-standard training is further enabled by the facilities and resources both parties have invested in, these include state-of-the-art HGV training workshops that mirror the workplace environment.

In 2016, another Internationally recognised brand in Renault followed suit: it moved learners to the college, brought in new trainers from the Renault network and realigned the programme to its Renault Trucks business. The benefit to Renault was quickly evident: year one apprentices demonstrated competence 75 per cent faster than when under the previous scheme.

The judges said Stephenson College’s work “provides a benchmark for FE and industry collaboration in the development of apprenticeship programmes, which demonstrates the responsiveness of FE in support of the skills and talent acquisition needs of a key sector of the UK economy”.

Dr. Nigel Leigh OBE Principal and Chief Executive of Stephenson College spoke of his delight at the college’s landmark award win: “Years of hard work has gone into ensuring our apprenticeship provision is at an incredibly high-standard on both a local and national level, receiving this Employer Engagement award is testament to everyone’s hard work.

“All those involved with Stephenson College know just how important our apprenticeship provision is, not to only ourselves, but to the wider community and the hundreds of employers we serve across the United Kingdom.

“To have our efforts recognised on the national stage amongst they very best of the best makes everything we do on a day-to-day basis feel even more worthwhile.”