A college in Weston-super-Mare has trumped businesses across the UK to be named Employer Of The Year at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards.
Weston College claimed what judges described as a ‘landslide victory’ at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London attended by more than 1,000 business leaders, entrepreneurs and politicians.
The college has around 30,000 enrolled learners and more than 1,100 staff across its multiple campuses and prison education programmes.
And it was its investment in – and dedication to – those staff which saw judges select Weston College as the winner from a high-quality field.
Cary Curtis, founder and Managing Director award sponsor Give a Grad a Go, said: “This award was a landslide victory; Weston College demonstrated the very best of what an employer should be.
“The college showed an investment in infrastructure to create state-of-the-art teaching spaces/digital learning environments, enabling staff to feel inspired to make a difference to their learners.
“Their investment in ethos was also key; offering a staff mentoring programme which encourages collaboration, and developing peer-to-peer inclusive support.
“Plus a ‘body and mind’ framework, recognising that staff need support to build emotional resilience to meet the increasing demands of the further education environment and 21st century life.”
The judges also highlighted the college’s graduate scheme, which runs throughout the year and offers several annual intakes, as opposed to competitors who offer just one recruit within the year.
Dr Paul Phillips, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College, said: “To be recognised as the best employer in the UK is hugely rewarding and testament to the emphasis we place on putting our staff at the heart of the business.
“Employee engagement and investment are among our highest priorities. This award reflects those priorities, as well as the commitment and dedication our people give us in return.
“We will continue to work hard to support our employees both personally and professionally.
“I should emphasise the point that our win was based on a totally inclusive approach to the bid and pitch – where we talked about core business as well as staffing in apprenticeships, traineeships, prison education and in our subsidiary companies too.
“All colleagues right across our college group played a part in this win.”
Andrew Leighton-Price, Chair of Governors at Weston College, agreed that valuing staff was key to not only making the college a success, but ensuring that success also filters into the region’s economy.
He said: “The key to the college’s success has been the inspirational leadership from Dr Paul Phillips, which has created an ethos where every member of staff is highly valued, combined with dynamic financial planning, which has given the college the sustainability to invest in its staff and to create world-class facilities to upskill its region for economic growth.”