Hartlepool College of Further Education is one of the largest providers of adult education in the Tees Valley and it prides itself on having a curriculum that meets the needs of a diverse range of learners.
At the back end of last year the college was one of only a handful of colleges to win a prestigious Beacon Award.
It won the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Benefit Solutions Award for Health and Community Care, which recognises outstanding schemes that provide models of good practice in health and community care provision and pioneering initiatives that support high levels of achievement.
The college won the award for its work helping with the social integration and training of students with learning disabilities and difficulties, drug and alcohol dependency, or prisoners serving long sentences who are now preparing to re-integrate into society.
College principal Michael Bretherick, who was presented with the award at a ceremony in London by John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, said it paid testament to the commitment of college staff.
He said: “I am extremely proud of the achievements of all partners involved in this scheme. The benefits to everyone are immense.”
John Pascoe, consultant with Jardine Lloyd Thompson, who visited the college to meet those involved with the scheme, said: “This is a very prestigious award and Hartlepool College of Further Education is a truly deserving recipient.
“It has shown how it can get out into the real world and make a huge difference in the wider community.”
The scheme aims to prepare students for voluntary or paid work and is run in collaboration with key partners including Hartlepool Borough Council, HMP Kirklevington Grange and other agencies such as MIND and community development organisation DISC.
More recently, Waverley Terrace Allotment has worked with students from HMP Kirklevington Grange so they could take part in an equality and diversity project.
The project, funded and supported by the Learning and Skills Improvement Council (LSIS) aimed to help the students gain valuable horticulture skills as well as so-called “softer” work-related skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making and time management.
Thirteen students picked a horticulture qualification and helped with community activities such as providing plants and seeds for local residents as well as vegetables to a local business.
The project is a result of close collaboration between the college, Hartlepool Borough Council and HMP Kirklevington Grange and all partners hope further projects can be undertaken to ensure the needs of a wider variety of learners can be met.
Anyone wanting further information about the wide range of activities and courses on offer at the college is welcome to attend the Adult Education Open Evening on from 4pm to 8pm or contact student services on 01429 295111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.