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Abingdon & Witney College up for hat-trick of apprenticeship accolades

Abingdon & Witney College up for hat-trick of apprenticeship accolades

The national finalists of the 2020 Annual Apprenticeship Conference (AAC) Apprenticeship Awards have been announced, with Abingdon & Witney College shortlisted in three major categories. The AAC Awards, now in its third year, recognise outstanding apprenticeship delivery and provision across the sector nationwide.

Abingdon & Witney College already has previous form, having won the South of England Provider of the Year Award back in 2018. The College now has its sights set on winning the Business and Administration Apprenticeship Provider of the Year, Engineering and Manufacturing Apprenticeship Provider of the Year, and the overall Apprenticeship Provider of the Year awards.

Competition in these categories includes both private providers and other colleges, including Leeds College of Building, Uniper Engineering Academy, Gen2 Training and Derby Business College.

This recognition is part of a long line of apprenticeship success for the College, with consistent above national average apprenticeship achievement rates, an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating for apprenticeship provision, and multiple regional awards.

More than 350 entries were submitted by colleges, training providers and employers for the 2020 edition of the AAC Awards, with forty-four organisations and individuals making the cut in 22 categories.

Managing director of FE Week publisher Lsect Shane Mann said: “Nominations were up by 20 per cent this year, which is great and shows there is a real appreciation across the sector for celebrating individuals and organisations. This particular Apprenticeship Awards looks at employers and providers offering outstanding world-class apprenticeships.”

He said the judging panel, which included representatives such as Coca Cola’s Sharon Blyfield and chair of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network Jason Holt, found it “incredibly tough” to decide the finalists. “What is great to see is just how much amazing stuff is taking place, which is a real privilege,” Mann added.

Di Batchelor, Principal and CEO at Abingdon & Witney College, said: “To be shortlisted in three categories at such a prestigious awards ceremony caps off another successful year for us. Our outstanding apprenticeship team and college tutors are involved in all aspects of our apprentices’ success, and we work with some very forward-thinking and motivated employers who see the huge value in apprenticeships.”

“We can’t wait to see how we get on next year at the ceremony,” she added. “A big “well done” to everyone involved!”

Those shortlisted will also be invited to attend a special celebratory reception at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by education select committee chair Robert Halfon, on February 5.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony during a gala dinner on March 3 at the ICC in Birmingham, where over 500 guests will eagerly anticipate the results.

Abingdon and Witney College is located at three main sites in Abingdon, Witney and Common Leys Farm near Hailey. The College also operates from 2 other permanent bases in Oxfordshire and up to 80 community-based venues each year.

The College recruits students from across Oxfordshire and has 2,000 full time and 10,000 part-time adult students each year. It also has a wide range of higher education provision, with over 300 HE students attending each year, and offers high quality and highly regarded apprenticeships.

The College was last inspected by Ofsted in 2017 and was judged ‘outstanding’ for apprenticeships.