Bridgwater & Taunton College is proud to be shortlisted for the South West Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to The Community Award.
With over 1,500 nominations received for the awards – that’s over 100 for most categories – the College’s achievement in being shortlisted alone is huge.
James Phipps, Chairman of Excalibur Group, renowned Entrepreneur, and part of the judging panel said:
“Judging this year’s awards was tough. Every entry was of a very high standard and each one was unique which made the decision harder. I’m very proud of the quality of businesses that we have in this region and these awards give them the true recognition that they deserve.”
Bridgwater & Taunton College’s own nomination focussed on their partnership work with NHS Somerset to deliver direct entry BScs (Hons) Nursing degrees at its University Centre Somerset (UCS) in Taunton.
Chief among the barriers to access nursing training within Somerset is a lack of local higher-level provision coupled with financial issues. Whether that’s an ability to afford to leave current employment, the time and cost of lengthy journeys to distant training locations, or the need to engage long-term childcare.
By creating nurse training programmes directed at people of all ages and abilities, the partnership between the College and the NHS has effectively broken down these barriers. This provision prepares local people for more skilled work, leading them directly to career progression and better pay.
This partnership has also led to a collaboration with the local authority and social enterprise organisation Discovery to deliver Project Search: supported internships for young people with a learning disability, designed to give them work experience and help them overcome barriers to paid employment. This programme is hugely successful, with 66% of interns finding employment.
This unique achievement means that individuals of all ages and abilities – including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - can now access a raft of career pathways into healthcare. Local education in healthcare can now take students from an Internship, Level 2 transition programme or Access to Higher Education qualification, via Level 3 programmes that include a T Level in Health, right through to qualifications at Levels 4, 5, and now a locally owned and managed degree, all delivered on their doorstep.
The initiative is critical to the provision of an additional supply of qualified nursing staff into roles across Somerset. In response to the College’s shortlisting for this award, Andy Berry, Principal and Chief Executive of Bridgwater & Taunton College, said:
“As a College, our vision is to transform lives and communities through innovative learning and partnerships, so I am absolutely delighted that both our College and team have been recognised for their outstanding work. This achievement is the result of many years collaboration, and only made possible due to the vision, tenacity, and innovation of everyone involved. I could not be prouder.”