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Suffolk New College wins national award for sustainability during ‘Oscars for the FE’ Westminster ceremony

News overview

Suffolk New College has won big by going green after securing a national award for sustainability.

Suffolk New College Winners Certificate

The College was shortlisted last year in The Inenco Award for Education for Sustainable Development category as part of the annual Association of College’s (AoC) Beacon Awards.

After hosting a visit from judges in January, Suffolk New College was announced as the winner in these Oscars for the further education sector yesterday during a prestigious ceremony held in Westminster.

During the ceremony, David Hughes, chief executive of the AoC said this year’s winners were ‘truly inspiring’.

The beacon award and certificate.

The award given to Suffolk New College helps showcase a cross-college attitude to creating greater awareness of green issues amongst staff and students and highlighted some recent achievements.

This included the coordination of a two-day Sustainability Festival for students, hosting a green skills conference for colleges in Norfolk and Suffolk, the creation of a Net Zero Skills Centre to support training in renewable energy solutions and sustainable construction on a number of study programmes and the creation of a basketball game between staff and students where trees were planted in and around the college reflecting the amount of points scored in the game.

Suffolk New College students and staff take part in basketball game to raise awareness of sustainability

According to the AoC, the Beacon Awards are the most prestigious awards in further education and have been running for 29 years. The awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice in further education colleges and demonstrate the far-reaching impact of colleges on their students and the communities they serve.

The awards also celebrate innovation within education and CEO and Principal of the college, Alan Pease, is delighted with the news. He said: “As a college we are enormously proud to win this award. National recognition reflects our ambition to become a leading educational player in the UK. Over 40 staff have been involved in sustainability projects in the last 12 months. This demonstrates our commitment to the environment and we are looking forward to continuing the work that we have started in the coming months and years.”

Therese Coffey MP, Steve Frampton, Climate Commissioner for FE and HE, with Emma Taylor and Charlie Simmans from Suffolk New College. Jordan Rassas, INENCO

Emma Taylor is the Director of Business Development and Major Projects, helped put the nomination together and represented the college at the awards.

Emma Taylor, Director of Business Development and Major Projects

Emma said: “The judges said that we were the first college to win an award at the first time of trying in five years and were really impressed with the way sustainability was embedded at all levels of college life’

“It was brilliant news for the whole college to win this and I’d like to thank all of our students and staff who have played a part in helping us secure this national accolade.”

Mark White, 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 the winning college shows how important colleges are in providing students with the necessary skills for the real world.”

The winners of this year’s Beacon Awards were announced on Tuesday 27 February during Colleges Week. Colleges Week is an annual celebration of the incredible work colleges are doing across the country, and this year it is taking place between 26 February and 1 March. This year, the theme is influencing, engaging and celebrating, with a look ahead to the upcoming mayoral and general elections. 

Posted 29 February 2024