Cardiff and Vale College’s ethos is just as much about looking outside the institution as at what goes on within it. The community it serves is diverse and the college has made it its goal to address the lack of skills in the local population and increase employment opportunities.
The college brings together more than 800 parents and children for its Families Learning Together initiative, and offers bespoke courses for parents and children supporting literacy and numeracy skills, taking families on a learning journey together.
It has created a central hub for Esol (English for speakers of other languages), called Reach+, which has assessed 3,000 learners and placed 98 per cent of them into provision. It has also partnered with Cancer Awareness to produce Esol health and cancer awareness resources in a bid to ensure that everyone in the local community has the confidence to access healthcare.
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The college’s junior apprenticeship programme welcomes learners from 20 of Cardiff’s schools to study vocational qualifications and GCSE maths and English. It has also opened two “shared-learning campuses” in deprived areas of the city, which offer career-focused courses. In no small part down to the college’s work, in the past five years, the percentage of Neets (young people not in education, employment or training) in the city has fallen from 4.9 per cent to 1.6 per cent.
The judges were blown away by the college’s efforts to transform its community. They said: “Cardiff and Vale has adopted a real strategic approach around family learning and Esol. The reach of its initiatives is incredible, and there’s a great sense of ‘what next?’ It’s always travelling forward, constantly looking outside of its four walls.”