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Derwen College has been awarded a top Gold standard award in recognition of its work experience opportunities and work programmes for students.

The specialist further education college, near Oswestry, has received a Gold certificate and trophy from Fair Train – an organisation which champions high quality work-based learning throughout the UK.

Students Tom and Courtney with Work Experience Co-ordinator Abi Baker.

Derwen College, in Gobowen, provides vocational learning and work experience for 16-25 year olds students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The College has developed strong external business opportunities with national and local businesses.

Hospitality and Housekeeping students work in Premier Inn housekeeping and Gobowen Station Café in a partnership with Severn Dee Travel; Horticulture students work at Oswestry Cemetery and Treflach Farm; Retail students work at Spar, in Llanfyllin and Severn Trent Water; and Performing Arts students work at Gobowen Playgroup, and as part of sign, song and dance group Derwen on Tour and inclusive storytelling group DC NarraTours.

The college also offers internal work experience on site in commercial areas which are open to the public including the Karten Print Shop, Garden Centre and Shop, and Garden Café.

The college houses a Premier Inn training facility where students learn the skills needed to work in a Premier Inn hotel. This experience then leads to work experience at Premier Inn hotels in the area. This has gone on to become paid work at Premier Inn for 20 former Derwen College students.

Derwen College’s Work Experience and Transition Team are pleased to have received the nationally respected Work Experience Quality Standard at the highest Gold level.

Derwen College has achieved Fair Train’s Gold Standard.

Abi Baker, Work Experience Co-ordinator, said she was delighted that the hard work of staff and students at Derwen College had been recognised at the highest possible level.

“We are really pleased to have received the Fair Train gold quality standard award which shows we are following Fair Train’s high standards of practice at the top Gold level.  Fair Train’s Work Experience Quality Standard is a widely and highly respected accreditation. We have worked closely with Fair Train to ensure we maintain the highest possible standards.”

Fair Train was created in 2009 by a group of people from the voluntary and community sector to address the lack of availability and uptake of apprenticeships in the sector. More than 400 organisations – employers, learning/training providers and facilitators – have now achieved Fair Train’s Work Experience Quality Standard. Sadly, this is Fair Train’s final year of operation, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the sector.

Derwen College continues to work with businesses to provide quality work experience opportunities for students working in Hospitality & Housekeeping, Retail, Performing Arts and Horticulture.


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