Ofsted praises entrepreneurial excellence
26 June 2013
A recently released Ofsted report has commended Barking & Dagenham College for its commitment to students and its support in helping them achieve success.
The College, under the leadership of Principal and CEO Cathy Walsh, was awarded an overall ‘good’ grade in the report and was rated as outstanding for leadership & management of its students’ experience. The College was particularly praised for its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, recognising its commitment to provide students with not only the resources to learn but also the extra support and opportunities to experience the world of work and encourage the UK’s future entrepreneurs.
It is the result of this work and more that has helped ensure the College can proudly say that just under 90%, or 9 out of 10 of its students, progress to higher education, apprenticeships and employment.
Cathy Walsh is passionate about real work opportunities for her students and says that it’s no longer simply about getting a qualification or developing the skills required for that qualification. She comments that to be successful in the modern business world you need to be confident and have already practiced how to apply essential skills for the job, saying: “We strive to deliver results for all our customers by offering students high-quality learning facilities and the teaching expertise so that they leave us with the skills and qualifications needed to go on to their chosen career path or into higher education. We work closely with employers so that students can experience work placements and real work projects, ensuring they really do understand what the business environment is like and what is expected of them as an employee. Furthermore we support and encourage students with their own business ideas.”
Some of these business ideas and work opportunities have recently included photographing and producing a short film for an industry event, cooking for the Mayor of Barking & Dagenham and redecorating a local day care facility. Furthermore, the College has just opened The Pod – a new creative zone designed to help budding student entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground – which was designed by Barking & Dagenham 3D design student Ahmed Salah. And, just last week, a group of the College’s students won the ‘best entrepreneurial project’ award as part of a national college competition which saw the most entrepreneurial students in the country (all from colleges in the Gazelle Colleges Group) compete for the title, demonstrating just what talent the students at Barking & Dagenham College have.
The Ofsted report also highlighted Barking & Dagenham College’s outstanding developments with local and national partners to improve the curriculum and, for example, increase numbers of apprenticeships and provide easy access to other training, as a result. It is this sort of commitment that the report notes has seen student successes consistently increase.
Cathy Walsh concludes: “The College has always prided itself on achieving great results as One Team with One Goal – to be a truly great college passionate about success. We always look to foster excellence and role model our values so are extremely proud of this recent Ofsted report as we were commended for our outstanding leadership and management at every level, outstanding support for students, excellence in innovation and entrepreneurialism for students and the wider community and outstanding external relationships with businesses and employers to shape training to meet their needs.”