Motivation, preparation and training: how to win a Tes FE Award

It takes serious commitment and discipline to win a Tes FE Award. Training provider of the year award winner MPCT tells Tes how they achieved success

Tes Reporter

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The Motivational Preparation College for Training (MPCT) was set up by former soldier Huw Lewis, who realised during his time working in the Royal Marines recruitment office that many young people had the potential for military service, but nevertheless still didn't make the cut.

Lewis thought there must be a better way to help them to prepare, and submitted a proposal to set up a military preparation programme. His first classroom experience (a maths session with 33 students) went down like a lead balloon – that was, until he rethought his approach. Taking inspiration from army training, he combined mathematics principals to outdoor physical activity and soon realised he was onto a winner.

“They were running around all over the place and they loved it,” Lewis says. “We got through twice the learning in half the time without any pushback. I thought, ‘We’ve got something here.’”

Since its formation in 1999, MPCT has expanded to 27 locations in England and Wales and has trained many thousands of young people. His learners have a 90 per cent success rate at military assessment centres, and 94 per cent success at phase 1 British Army training. And earlier this year, MPCT was named Training Provider of the Year at the Tes FE Awards 2017.

The speedy transformation of young learners from school-leavers into disciplined future military professionals is the result of creating positive routines that promote the college’s value of diligence, pride and dedication. Lewis also uses ‘energiser’ interventions in the form of a quick game or challenge to get learners moving and reacting to information. Most importantly, the students deeply respect all MPCT staff – who are former military personnel – and this helps to keep disruptive behaviour at bay.

Tes FE Awards 2018: the categories

  • Lifetime achievement
  • Support for learners
  • Contribution to the local community
  • Best teaching and learning initiative
  • Outstanding use of technology for improving teaching, learning and assessment
  • Employer engagement
  • Assessor of the year
  • Professional services team of the year
  • Apprenticeship programme of the year
  • Teacher of the year
  • FE leader of the year
  • FE college of the year
  • Training provider of the year
  • Sixth-form college of the year
  • Specialist provider of the year
  • Adult and community learning provider of the year

How to enter 

Entry is free and open to all further education establishments in the UK. Simply submit 500 words on why you should win, before midnight on Friday 27 October 2017 at Find out if you’ve made the shortlist on Friday 15 December 2017. The winners will be revealed at a glittering awards ceremony on Friday 23 February 2018 at The Grosvenor House hotel in London's Park Lane.

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