Coleg Cambria is celebrating after two of its staff scooped two prestigious awards at the national Times FE Awards.
The TES FE awards, which were presented by comedian Rob Beckett at a ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel in London, bring together the most exciting and inspiring individuals and institutions in the further education sector.
Hundreds of FE providers submitted entries for the 16 categories, which showcase achievement in the local community, employer engagement, innovation in teaching, leadership and apprenticeship.
David Jones, Coleg Cambria, was awarded FE leader at the annual ceremony and was commended by the judges for his ‘proven leadership’ and his vision in overseeing the merger of the merger of four institutions in North Wales to form Coleg Cambria – one of the largest and most successful colleges in the UK.
Coleg Cambria has since become part of the Collab Group. As chief executive, Jones has worked hard to foster partnerships, including securing a prestigious learning and skills contract at Europe’s largest prison, HMP Berwyn.
He has also developed connections with leading universities, as well as launching a new higher education centre, which provides an innovative learning environment for engineering. In addition, he is a hands-on leader who is actively involved in all aspects of the college, even helping agricultural students with lambing.
Jones often advises the Welsh government on policy and serves on the board of Landex, the representative body for land-based colleges. He has championed discussions on common contracts for Welsh colleges and the Welsh government’s international and bilingual strategies.
Inspectorate Estyn recently recognised his “outstanding leadership” in Coleg Cambria’s 2016 inspection, in which the college was graded “excellent” for overall performance and achieved the highest grades of any FE institution in Wales.
The judges said: “David’s nomination shows a range of evidence of achievement in the community and includes very strong testimonials from a variety of different sources.”
The evening also saw a second award for the North East Wales institution, with Yvonne Evans winning assessor of the year.
The assessor of the year category, introduced this year, seeks to reward an individual whose passion, knowledge and skill has inspired apprentices to succeed. The judges unanimously agreed that Yvonne Evans was a worthy winner of this award.
Evans has been an assessor in food manufacturing at Coleg Cambria since 2011. She has become a key member of the team and leads new developments, such as getting the college approved for the higher apprenticeship in food manufacturing.
She has supported many of the companies that work with Coleg Cambria, helping them to improve learning and development, and increase the skills of their workforce. For example, she has been the main driver behind moves by local business Village Bakery to revamp its apprenticeship offering.
Evans has worked hard at her own professional development, and has completed a number of courses in subjects such as literacy, numeracy and communication to enable her to support learners. Several were at level 4, leading to her being awarded a City & Guilds medal for excellence, recognising her “exceptional work” in “going above and beyond what is expected”.
The judges said: “Yvonne is a worthy winner of the inaugural assessor of the year award. With the expansion of the apprenticeships programme, the role of assessor has assumed a great deal of importance, and Yvonne shows what a difference assessors can make.”
Other awards at the glittering, black-tie event, hosted by comedian Rob Beckett, included prizes for the FE leader of the year, college of the year and training provider of the year.
For more coverage of the awards, the full list of winners and photos from the evening, please visit www.tesfeawards.co.uk or pick up a copy of TES, available in newsagents from 3 March.