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Cardiff and Vale College

Shortlisted for the Edge sponsored AOC Beacon Award for Practical Teaching, Practical Learning 2016-17:  Cardiff and Vale College

Cardiff and Vale College is one of the largest colleges in the country – transforming education and training across the capital region of Wales. We have over 20,000 students each year and a large staff team of industry experts, sector specialists and knowledgeable and experienced support teams. We are proud of our student success rate – one of the best in the sector, with 89% achieving their main qualification.  Our focus is not simply on qualifications but also developing the skills individuals and employers require for future success. And it works – with 86% of our students progressing to further study or employment within two months of completing their course. This includes an incredible 1000 students progressing onto university level study since 2015.

We are teaching people in top class industry facilities and centres of excellence across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan; in the community and in workplaces across the region, Wales and the world.  Our students are given unique opportunities to develop their wider skills, become entrepreneurial and employable and stand out from the crowd. Within vocational priority areas we have invested in industry-standard, state-of-the-art facilities and we operate these as professional concerns.  These are fully embedded into the curriculum offer and our learners on these courses spend time working within the businesses, enabling them to tackle real life problems by learning from people in the know who are real life experts, using the tools of the trade.  These include an industry standard salon and spa, a fine-dining restaurant where renowned professional staff work alongside our learners in the kitchen and front-of-house, an International Sports Campus and state-of-the-art facilities for Automotive, Aero and engineering.  We have invested in a number of retail outlets within the College which are open to the public and which generate income that we can re-invest to continue to support developments for our learners. 

We work in partnership with visiting professionals, who run monthly master classes and also have guest chef takeovers and many employer-run events.  Marketing students have been involved in the design and promotion of our coffee shop and bakery students prepare sandwiches, bread and pastries which are sold to customers. Our shop is also a source of work experience and part-time employment for our students giving them a real taste of the working world. These have given us further opportunities to involve our learners in real and meaningful activities which stretch and challenge.

We use our links with employers to ensure our learners have the opportunity to work on live briefs eg projects for the BBC and run a successful Careers Academy, linked to the Career Ready programme.  This is a UK wide charity linking employers with schools and colleges to open up the world of work to young people aged from 16-19.  Last year this saw thousands of our students undertake work placements, compete in national entrepreneurial challenges and skills competitions and win more national awards than ever before. All of these activities provide opportunities which motivate our young people, showing them what can be achieved if they work hard and commit to their study.  They provide opportunities for all of our learners to work with and learn from the best; challenging them to reach and breach their potential.

For further information please contact Michell Hiller-Forster, Dean of Quality Improvement on email