East Kent College has been nationally recognised for its outstanding work with students with learning difficulties.

Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, presented the prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for Students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities at a ceremony held at Westminster recently (5 February).

Accepting the award, Graham Razey, principal of East Kent College, said: “We are very proud of our work to support these young people and are delighted to have it recognised on a national level.

“Through partnerships with key local employers we are able to offer students, who may otherwise have been excluded from the workplace, sustainable employment opportunities. Our students and staff have worked extremely hard to make these relationships a success so I am delighted they have been rewarded.”

Beacon-Award-east-kent-collegeEast Kent College won the award for a supported employment project which has two strands.

‘Bright Futures’ focuses on linking with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust which offers a minimum of eight internships each year for students with learning difficulties or disabilities. ‘Supported Internships’ applies the same processes as ‘Bright Futures’, but in partnership with a range of key employers.

The success of this approach has meant that the College has worked with the Department for Education to enable Supported Internships to be rolled out across the further education sector.

Roger Marriott, AoC Beacon Awards Chief Assessor, said: “I have been greatly impressed by the innovative and excellent initiatives which have been identified through the assessment process of the AoC Beacon Awards this year.

“It is a privilege to be able to see, first hand, the many imaginative and creative approaches that colleges are adopting to support their learners. The dedication and passion shown by these winning colleges to ensure that individuals are given the opportunity to realise their full potential is inspirational and I hope that the wider sector will benefit as a result of celebrating their achievements.”


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