Lancaster University

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Foundation Degrees in Lancashire Awards

03/16/2007 11:17:14

Lancaster University hosted the second Foundation Degrees in Lancashire Awards Evening on Tuesday 13 March. Students, tutors and employers from across Lancashire were nominated for these prestigious awards by the 15 colleges and universities in Lancashire that offer Foundation Degrees.

Winners were announced in four categories: Young Student of the year (under 25 years), Mature Student of the Year (25 and over), Tutor of the Year and Employer of the Year.

Nathan Pendrey - Young Student of the Year
Nathan Pendrey - Young Student of the Year

The winner in the category Young Student of the Year was Nathan Pendrey, who was nominated by Lancaster and Morecambe College and who had taken a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching. Nathan was nominated by Course Leader, Iain Parkinson, because he successfully overcame the huge educational differences between his previous school experiences and those he faced on the Foundation Degree. He joined the programme after a career change, and had to adapt quickly to a new style of education. This he did very quickly and impressively, and completed with a Pass with Merit grade. Throughout the course he showed excellent personal development both academically and vocationally, allowing him to progress to complete the top-up degree at the University of Central Lancashire, leading towards his goal of becoming a PE teacher.

Iain said, “Nathan has been a very positive and enthusiastic student throughout his time at Lancaster and Morecambe College. Daily he has faced a 50 mile round trip to the College, maintaining a high attendance rate. He has a very determined manner, and I expect him to succeed in his chosen career.”

The winner in the category Mature Student of the Year was Norman Pickavance, who was nominated by Myerscough College and took a Foundation Degree in Professional Gardening and Plant Knowledge. Norman found the course to be life-changing, in particular it led to a new and rewarding career. As a direct result of the significant progress and commitment which he demonstrated, he gained employment as Head of Horticulture at Edge Hill University. He has been making a major contribution towards developing the landscape at Edge Hill, and now also helps to demonstrate the importance of the grounds for Ecology to several student groups each year. He has also introduced a health and safety programme for the staff, and helped to develop awareness of a health and safety culture across campus.

Norman was nominated by Horticulture lecturer David Stokes, who said: “Norman is the first member of his family to study at HE level, while overcoming bereavements within his family and also poor health. He has shown significant commitment to the course by managing a full-time job, study, magistrate’s duties and a very demanding home life. He has also clearly shown significant academic progress and personal development over the last two and a half years of the course.”

The winner in the category Tutor of the Year was Gill Watson of Runshaw College. Gill has led the development of eight Foundation Degrees at Runshaw College, across a diverse range of areas. She has been involved in every aspect of this, from initiating the course proposal, undertaking market research with employers and prospective students to check out needs and demand and then respond in the design of courses. Gill has also taught on a wide variety of Foundation Degrees, and currently teaches on five different ones in the areas of Computing, Computer Games Development, Travel, Hospitality, Computer Aided Engineering and Information Communication Technology. Gill provides tremendous support to all course leaders developing new Foundation Degrees at Runshaw College, and is known to always ‘go the extra mile’ in terms of responding to the needs of individual students.& lt; /span>

Gill was nominated by HE Co-ordinator Alison Robinson who said, “Gill is a wonderful role model for the College and Foundation Degrees in general. She is a keen enthusiast of FDs and has sought to embed good practice in FD design in order to share this with her colleagues. Gill fully engages with inclusive learning strategies, in particular supporting students who have a wide range of physical or learning difficulties both inside and outside of her FD classes. She adopts a wide range of innovative learning and teaching strategies in order to support her learners and cater for their individual needs.”

The winner in the category Employer of the Year was Leyland Methodist Primary School, which was nominated by Runshaw College for its support of the Foundation Degree in Early Years. The school has been providing work placements for the College for over ten years, and is described as an exceptional and inspirational learning environment for both the children and students on work placement, who feel nurtured and supported. The Head Teacher helps students prepare for their assessment, and other students are assessed in the workplace with the full support of the school. The employer values the worth of Foundation Degrees, and provides real work placements which value and enhance learners’ skills and abilities.

Leyland Methodist Primary School was nominated by Course Leader Deirdre Dougan, who said, “What is very special about this employer is the very welcoming environment where students are given real work experience in a place that is up-to-date with regard to government new initiatives. The workplace gives students the opportunity to link theory to practice. The student experience is facilitated so that they have the opportunity to see a wide range of different activities, skills and techniques that are both relevant to their course and their future careers.”

The award was collected by Christine Cranfield, Head Teacher of Leyland Methodist Primary School.

Rosemary Hindley, Senior Development Officer in the Department of Continuing Education at Lancaster University, commented, “This year we received almost twice as many nominations from the institutions which provide Foundation Degrees in Lancashire, following a very successful awards ceremony last year. We also introduced a new category of Tutor of the Year in response to suggestions from the providers. Some of the nominations were really inspiring, and I know that the judges had a very difficult time deciding on the four winners. The nominations included students who had managed to combine work, study and personal commitments, often while also having to deal with other difficult circumstances such as illness or family bereavements. Some of the students were also the first in their family to study at higher education level. We were very impressed by the commitment which they have shown, and by the support which they have received from their institutions.”

The guest speaker at the awards evening was Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Business Link Lancashire, and Penny Blackie, Regional Director of Foundation Degree Forward, presented a certificate to each nominee and a glass engraved plaque to each of the four winners. Universities and colleges across the county were represented at the event, as well as a number of organisations involved in the delivery of education and training.

Foundation Degrees were introduced in the UK in 2000 and have been growing in popularity ever since. This higher education level qualification is developed by employers in partnership with universities and colleges. The courses combine academic study with work-based learning and experience. They offer a cost-effective and flexible means for employees to gain a higher level qualification while remaining in employment.

There are now over 130 Foundation Degrees available in Lancashire in subjects as diverse as sport coaching and casino operations, health care and criminology. The awards evening was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Foundation Degree students, and to acknowledge the support and contribution that tutors and employers have made towards the programmes.

The awards evening was introduced as part of a unique project funded by Aimhigher Lancashire, and led by the Department of Continuing Education at Lancaster University. The project successfully brought about the collaboration of all the institutions providing Foundation Degrees in Lancashire, and aimed to raise awareness of the qualification among employers and potential students.