College again reaches finals of national diversity and inclusion awards

COLEG CAMBRIA has again reached the finals of a prestigious awards ceremony centred on inclusion and diversity.

The college – based in Wrexham, Deeside, Llysfasi and Northop – is in the running for the RCU Award for Support for Students at the Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards.

Cambria was also ‘Commended’ in the NOCN Group Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing category.

The news was announced at the AoC Annual Conference in Birmingham, and all the nominees will be visited by independent assessors over the next months, with the winners announced in February.

Cambria’s Chief Executive Yana Williams said: “Our long-term commitment to diversity and inclusivity is one of the key priorities for both staff and learners, so for that to again be recognised by the AoC is very heartening, it’s a huge honour.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our college community is pivotal, notably after the pandemic, which was referred to by the AoC, as were the varied and inclusive neurodiverse courses we deliver.

“I would like to thank all of the staff and teams across Cambria who played a part in this and promise we will continue to raise the bar in these areas.”

With regards Mental Health and Wellbeing, the AoC identified the college saw a significant increase in mental health and wellbeing disclosures and referrals since 2019/20, with the pandemic affecting a trauma response in many young people.

Cambria responded pro-actively, developing as a ‘trauma informed environment’ and responding with a positive and innovative approach to meeting needs and providing support for new and emerging behaviours within the classroom.

Comprehensive training, a review of policies and processes and development of resources impacted on the wellbeing and experience of both learners and staff and this initiative supported a cross college culture of kindness, tolerance and dignity, the springboard for projects that promote equity and wellbeing.

In the Support for Students category, the college was lauded for its NeuroTech courses including Digital Technologies, designed to enable individuals with social communication conditions such as autism to succeed both academically and socially within a mainstream setting.

This was achieved through a programme of study that incorporates practical techniques and strategies tailored for learners’ individual needs.

The AoC Beacon Awards capture and celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK further education colleges. The aim of the awards programme is to demonstrate and promote the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve.

For more information on the AoC Beacon Awards, follow @nfcdiversity and @aoc_info on social media and use the hashtags #AoCBeacons and #LoveOurColleges.

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