EKC Group, which runs campuses including Broadstairs College, has triumphed at the Association of College’s Beacon Awards, winning a top award for training hotel The Yarrow.
The prestigious accolades are seen as the Oscars of UK Colleges, with each contested between the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) 273 members.
At an awards ceremony on Monday (27 February), it was announced the Group had won The Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning’, causing celebration among staff, students and local MPs.
Working with stakeholders and local employers, in 2016 the college turned a mothballed building into The Yarrow, a training hotel to inspire the hospitality professionals of the future and ensure students had ‘real world’ experience.
The hotel works in partnership with a range of local stakeholders, ensuring that learners receive the training that employers need, helping to meet local skills gaps and ensure college students have the best opportunities when they achieve their qualification.
Judges reasoned The Yarrow is unrivalled in the world of Further Education. It’s proven an effective tool in creating a talent pipeline for the sector, and the Group’s commitment to its ongoing success has seen it rated the best hotel in Kent on Tripadvisor.
Further praise was heaped on EKC Group’s ties within the communities it serves and local employers, which gives students the opportunity to gain placements and experiences in the world outside of the classroom.
Speaking after the Group was announced as the winner, its Chief Executive Graham Razey OBE said: “Our Broadstairs hotel, The Yarrow, has proven itself as an absolute sector leader, delivering a genuinely inspirational experience for the many students who’ve had the opportunity to work there. As a hotel it is in the top 100 ranked in England by travellers on TripAdvisor and is a breeding ground for the future stars of the hospitality industry.
“However, it goes beyond that, also offering up a community facility that’s fully embedded itself into its locality, providing jobs within Thanet and bringing tourists into the area. It’s truly a testament of the exceptional work by our passionate and committed staff, and I am so proud of this win for them.”
Mark White, Interim Chair of AoC’s Charitable Trust said: “The AoC Beacon Awards showcase exactly why colleges are so important to every community and why people value them. This award recognises examples of excellent practical teaching and learning. The work of EKC Group shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.”
The Edge Award for Excellence in Real World Learning Award was one of two Beacon Awards that the Group was shortlisted for this year. EKC was also commended in the Nous Group Award for Education for Sustainable Development.
For more information about EKC Group, click here.