Accreditations And Awards
The body that safeguards the public interest in sound standards of Higher Education qualifications is the QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). They do this by working with Universities and Higher Education Institutions to define academic standards and quality, and by carrying out and publishing reviews against these standards. University Centre at Blackburn College was last reviewed in 2015. You can read our review and also see the areas of good practice online.
2015 TES FE AWARD NOMINATED FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
2014 TES FE NATIONAL AWARD WINNER FOR MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Blackburn College won the Marketing and Communications Campaign of the year award at the 2013/14 TES FE Awards. After encountering increasing competition for 16-18 students from neighbouring schools that had opened their own sixth forms, Blackburn College had to develop new ways of targeting students from outside their traditional recruitment area
In response, and with no increase in marketing budget, it tried to devise a way to encourage more applications by increasing engagement with schools in the Ribble Valley, Chorley and Preston.
The idea it came up with was Education Rocks, an awards ceremony at the college for school teachers, with the nominations supplied by the schools’ own students – Blackburn’s potential learners of the future.
The college teamed up with local radio station Rock FM to create a campaign promoting the awards, and also carried out school visits to raise awareness among students and build relationships with school staff. Social media, e-marketing and direct mail strategies were used to drive up public awareness.
More than 400 nominations were received and 180 guests from the schools attended the glittering awards ceremony.
The college set itself a challenging recruitment goal: a 10 per cent increase in enrolments from its target areas. Staff needn’t have worried. The college smashed its target, recording a 30 per cent increase, easily exceeding its ambitions.
Judges thought Blackburn College had struck on a “genius” idea.
“On one level, it’s all about the schools; on another level, it’s all about the college.”
Their victory was witnessed by over 500 people gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements at the prestigious awards ceremony held at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, on Friday 28 February.
Other awards at the glittering black-tie event, hosted by Jo Brand, included prizes for the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year, FE Provider of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community.
Now in their third year, the TES FE Awards recognise and reward the achievements of the wide range of providers working in learning and skills. Hundreds of FE providers submitted entries for the 13 categories to recognise achievement in employer engagement, innovation in teaching, leadership and entrepreneurship.
University Centre at Blackburn College has become an Apple Authorised Centre for Education (AATCe). Blackburn College is only one of a few colleges across the North West to be awarded this prestigious accreditation.
Blackburn College is a Disability Confident Employer. This means we have completed the Disability Confident self-assessment and are actively engaged in all of the core actions to be a Disability Confident employer.
We are proactively:
• challenging attitudes towards recruitment of disabled people
• increasing understanding of disability in the workplace
• removing barriers to disabled people and those with long term health conditions in employment
• ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfill their potential and realise their aspirations
Following the recent Ofsted inspection of Blackburn College, we are pleased to see positive comments endorsing the long standing reputation of the College. As an institution that continually strives to improve, we also welcome the ideas for further improvement, which are all already underway.
We are particularly pleased that Ofsted recognised that our Apprentices benefit from developing high-level technical skills in high quality, prestigious workplaces with good industry resources and that our A-Level students are now achieving higher grades in their assessments and an increasing number are securing places at prestigious universities.
We are also proud that our students themselves were praised for their behaviour and respect shown to others.
We agree with Ofsted’s recommendation to improve our existing focus on progress, stretch and challenge and setting and monitoring of targets.
At the same time, we celebrate the fact that we have:
• 9 out of 10 students in employment or further study within six months of completing their course for the fourth year running
• An A-Level achievement rate outperforming the national rate by 2%
Blackburn College has secured the highest industry-backed recognition for the quality of its STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based education and training by achieving STEM Assured status.
STEM Assured is the only educational standard that independently verifies and benchmarks the quality of STEM provision. It is the most prestigious accolade an institution can receive in STEM.
To achieve the STEM Assured status, education providers (schools, colleges, universities) are assessed against a robust framework that benchmarks their capability to design and deliver STEM courses that keep pace with emerging technology and the evolving needs of employers.
By achieving the STEM Assured status, Blackburn College demonstrated that:
• Its STEM-related provision is of a consistently high quality and aligned with current and anticipated industry requirements
• Its provision reflects real life work needs
• Its employability and related transferrable skills are embedded into the curriculum and reflect their students journey
• It is committed to continual improvement and innovation of its provision to ensure that it keeps pace with rapid advances in technology and the changing jobs market
• It has clear engagement processes with employers and key stakeholders
The validation panel particularly praised the College’s innovative approach to curriculum development as well as its investment in specialist facilities, in collaboration and consultation with major employers.
Blackburn College’s substantial STEM investment programme includes the STEM dedicated Sir Bill Taylor Futures Centre and the Regional Automotive Technical Hub (RATH) where students can train in collaboration with BMW, Masserati, Skoda and Nissan.
As well as working with a host of prestigious car manufacturers, the College has developed a number of other strategic STEM based partnerships with leading employers including Engineering Company NIS, BCW Engineering and Precision Polymer Engineering.