Just months after being singled out as best FE College in the FE Choices Employer Satisfaction Survey, on Thursday 9th June Bolton College was recognised yet again for its successful collaboration with local businesses – winning in the Health & Social Care category and Advanced Apprentice of the Year at the Skills for Business Awards 2016.
Advanced Apprentice of the Year was won by Connor Stevenson, who works as an Apprentice Youth Worker for Raise the Youth Foundation. Connor, 24, is no stranger to prestigious award ceremonies; in 2015 he was Highly Commended by both the National Apprenticeship Service and the Association of Colleges, and earlier this year the aspiring music teacher received an invitation to the Houses of Parliament in celebration of his achievements. However, this is the first time that Connor has beaten off all of his competitors to achieve victory.
Connor, who is currently completing a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Teaching & Learning Specialist Support for Schools, said: “I’m over the moon to have won this award! The Apprenticeship has turned my life around and made me realise what I’m passionate about: helping young people to realise their potential and express themselves through music. All I want is to be a positive role model to others.”
Connor was referred to Raise the Youth Foundation after being involved in varying levels of substance misuse, criminality and anti-social behaviour; however he stayed on to volunteer for two years and was then offered the opportunity to do an Apprenticeship. Connor has embraced all aspects of his learning journey and his pivotal role as mentor at Raise the Youth Foundation, and has since received praise from no fewer than two Bolton MPs and the President of the Association of Colleges.
Jason Steele, CEO of Raise the Youth Foundation, commented: “We are immensely proud of Connor and his hard work and achievement. Through our collaboration with Bolton College we have had a transformative impact on local young people like Connor, and our work together has not only changed Connor's life but the lives of many children and young people who Connor has inspired.”
Along with Connor’s success, Bolton College was also recognised at the Skills for Business Awards for its successful collaboration with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – namely the development of a Health & Social Care Extended Diploma Level 3 (Cadets). The programme, designed to provide 16-18 year olds with a holistic approach to learning, includes a work placement with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and essential experience in a number of clinical areas, wards and departments.
Carol Le Blanc, Head of Clinical and Professional Development at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are proud to receive this award, which recognises our hard work in developing this partnership. The cadet programme provides a valuable opportunity for young people in Bolton who wish to pursue a career in healthcare, and gives them a chance to experience what it’s like to work in a modern, integrated NHS Trust. As one of the largest employers in Bolton we look forward to building on our relationship by widening access to opportunities, and developing local people.”
This double dose of success comes just a few months after Bolton College was named best FE College nationally by employers who took part in the FE Choices Employer Satisfaction Survey. Lorraine Groch, Vice Principal for Enterprise at Bolton College, said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised at the Skills for Business Awards, and hope that this recognition reflects our commitment to facilitating the growth of the local economy. We are keen to continue working with both businesses and individuals through the delivery of bespoke training solutions and a range of Apprenticeship frameworks.”