College shortlisted for 2018 TES FE Awards

Canterbury College is celebrating being shortlisted for the 2018 TES FE Awards. 

The TES (Times Educational Supplement) Awards recognise and commend colleges that are improving the skill levels of young people and adult learners. Canterbury College has been shortlisted for the ‘Support for Learners’ category and is hoping to celebrate on 23rd February when the winners will be announced at a black tie gala. 

The College launched an Emotional Wellbeing Centre (EWC) initiative in 2016 following student feedback that suggested more intense and ongoing personal support was needed. The intention was to construct an accessible space where a team of trained counsellors were available. 

Vicki Smith, co-ordinator at the EWC, said: “It’s great to be shortlisted for an award where we’re giving support to the students. We aim to make sure we give the best support. It is a chance for our students to make friends, promote respect, resilience and value diversity, as well as supporting social and emotional learning.”

The EWC is a restful, safe space where students are able to find a quiet place to work, make new friends, have access to individual or group counselling, develop social and empathic skills and learn to accept and understand differences. 

A student studying Animal Care, said: “When I started College I was aggressive, which was caused by difficulties at home. The EWC helped me with housing and money and I found that it was a place that come to get things off my chest. The staff have helped me to get to where I am today and it has led me to be able to take a trip to Costa Rica to volunteer with sea turtles!”

The EWC team delivered 2,254 sessions in its first year including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy group sessions and confidence building sessions. The majority of issues that were confronted by the staff were in relation to mental health including depression, self-harm and safeguarding. 

Another student who studied to be a teaching assistant, said: “I had counselling sessions whilst I was studying, which made me feel calmer and meant that I could do my studies. The staff also helped me to prepare for interviews and apply for jobs.”

The centre has made a huge impact on Canterbury College, the retention for students who accessed the EWC was 98.6% in 2016/17, which is over and above the College’s average (92.2%). In response to this positive impact a twin centre was opened at Sheppey College. 

The EWC received a superb response from Ofsted during the college’s February 2017 inspection. Canterbury College believes that students deserve the best support possible to enable them to progress and fully achieve; having been shortlisted for a TES award highlights the College’s continued success.