Cardiff and Vale College shortlisted for prestigious Beacon Award

8 Sep 2017

An initiative at Cardiff and Vale College that offers a wider range of vocational career routes to 14 to 16-year-olds is in the running for one of the highest accolades in Further Education.

The College’s Junior Apprenticeship programme – run in partnership with the Welsh Government, Cardiff Council and Cardiff schools – has been shortlisted for a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award.

The Beacon Awards recognise colleges that have displayed imaginative and innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the UK’s FE sector. Now in their 24th year, the Beacon Awards represent the best colleges across the country that adapt to meet the needs of local employers and the career needs of their students.

Cardiff and Vale College is one of the few colleges in the country to make it on to the final shortlist for the Beacon Awards, the winners of which will be announced in November.

CAVC has been shortlisted for the Skills Education Group Award for Transition into Post-16 Education and Training for its Junior Apprenticeship programme.

Jointly funded by Welsh Government Creative Solutions, CAVC, Cardiff Council and Cardiff schools, the Junior Apprenticeship programme was launched in September 2016 to increase the number of young people in education, employment and training.

Offering Year 10 and 11 pupils the opportunity to study full-time for a future career in a college setting from the age of 14, the programme is the only one of its kind in Wales. This summer saw the first cohort of Year 11s all successfully graduate and secure a place on a higher level course at CAVC or an apprenticeship.

At the end of the first year, Junior Apprentices who hadn’t attended school for a whole year were achieving 90% attendance. Of the Cardiff learners who were identified as the most vulnerable, 75% are no longer considered to be in that category based on their attendance, engagement and progress.

All 19 of the Year 11 graduates successfully completed their programme with two successfully completing in one year and 51 young people are currently enrolled from 13 schools across the region. Following its positive first year, the Welsh Government is now encouraging other colleges to roll out similar Junior Apprenticeship programmes across Wales.

CAVC Principal Kay Martin said: “To make it on to the shortlist for an AoC Beacon Award is an amazing achievement and a reward for the dedication of everyone in the College and our partners in Welsh Government, Cardiff Council and Cardiff schools. It is this combination of hard work and a desire to see the Junior Apprentices progress and remain in education that has made the programme the success it has been – I am hugely proud of everyone involved.”