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Weston College is an Ofsted outstanding college of further and higher education in Weston-super-Mare. It provides education and vocational training to nearly 30,000 learners across the country.
We put the learner first, are entrepreneurial in approach and innovative in our thinking. As a college, we are ambitious and aspirational and are responsive to the needs of students, staff, businesses and the community.
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Our lecturers are always looking for ways to enrich the experiences of learners. Recently our ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) learners were involved in an exciting rounders match, where they took on members of Avon and Somerset Police.
ESOL lecturer, Liam O’Callaghan shared his account of the day, take it away Liam!
“Since Spring of this year, the ESOL department has sought to strengthen ties with the community to make it a safer and more welcoming place for our learners. At the forefront of this initiative has been PCO Mike Jordan. He has spoken to our learners several times about police procedure, their rights and what to expect from police in the UK. He has built strong and trusting relationships with our learners and sought to build on that by organising a fun, easy going sports session between the police force, the fire brigade and our learners.
“After some training by taskmaster coach John Robertson, the ESOL learners came to grips with rounders. The ESOL learners showed up in force on Thursday. Mike had the idea to integrate the teams with learners from the college, members of the police and members of the fire brigade. Four teams were created and named by the learners: Team Liam, Team Tony (or the TTs), Afghanistan and Team Destroyer.
“After a round robin style tournament that saw stand-out performances by heavy handed batter Romina Niazi, deft fast bowler Tony Mawlani and dubious calls by self-appointed referee Mohammed Ali Shinwari, Team Destroyer and Team Afghanistan fought to a tense stalemate.
“Nevertheless, the atmosphere in the sports hall was welcoming, good-humoured and inclusive. Adding to this the police and fire service were kind enough to bring food along and take the time chatting and getting to know the learners.
“Some of the learners were particularly impressed with the muscles of the fire brigade and ask to take “gun show” selfies with them, while others were especially pleased with being able to explore the fire engine that was parked outside and were even able to try on some of the equipment. Learners left sessions exhausted but happy and relationships were strengthened even further.”
A huge thanks to PCO Mike Jordan, and to all of the police and fire-fighters who came along to visit our ESOL Learners.
To find out more about ESOL courses, click here.
See below for a video featuring the highlights of the day!
@westoncollege Our ESOL learners had an exciting Rounders match with the Police and Fire Brigade! Helping to build communitity relationships and having fun while doing it. #WestonCollege #Community ♬ original sound - WestonCollege
We are proud to announce the College’s outstanding achievement, securing the prestigious position of Number 7 in the esteemed National Centre for Diversity (NCFD) Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces Index 2023. This recognition stands as a testament to the College's dedication to embedding Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (FREDIE) values at the core of its organisational framework.
The College's commitment to fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity has been acknowledged on a national scale, reflecting the culmination of diligent efforts and resolute determination to embrace FREDIE principles across all facets of its operations.
Solat Chaudhry, Chief Executive at the National Centre for Diversity said:
“I send my warmest congratulations to Weston College on successfully reaching number 7 in the Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces Index 2023. It’s been a challenging year and yet, it has not dented the excellent work that organisations and individuals do in promoting FREDIE best practices.
“I am particularly proud that we celebrate excellent work across all sectors as these organisations are the future of the workplace in the UK. We celebrate the exceptional work of people and organisations who have EDI running through their DNA. Let’s rejoice at this and build a better society."
The full listing of the 2023 Top 100 Most Inclusive UK Workplaces Index can be accessed here: https://nationalcentrefordiversity.com/top-100-2023-fredie-awards, showcasing the exemplary efforts of organisations dedicated to championing diversity and inclusion.
Lewis was approached by Barnardos for the opportunity, having previously worked with the charity for a music video for their ambitions project. The video had been shown to the event organisers and the President of Barardos, Natasha Kaplinski OBE, which resulted in them contacting him to perform.
The song performed was ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra. Lewis explained why that song was selected: “This was the was song featured in the music video, and it was one I felt confident singing in front of such a large audience.”
He went on to share how he felt on the day and the lead up to the performance: “On the stage and the build-up to the performance I wasn't nervous at all, they treated me so well and truly made me came to the realisation that I was the special guest that night - something that they'd never invited or incorporated into their event before and I was just excited rather than nervous. After I came off stage and heard the biggest applause of my life I cracked, after thanking the host and organisers and all the backstage staff I came into my dressing room and burst into tears of joy and emotion from how amazing it felt.”
When asked about the support from Weston College, Lewis shared: “Everyone was so supportive and the college was completely understanding despite me needing two days off to attend and travel to London for the event. They were willing to pay and help me achieve this opportunity before we found out that Barnardos would cover the entire cost.”
Lewis concluded with: “Life has not been easy and has been a very bumpy road with hard work, but that night has made all the effort and the hours of rehearsing and working hard to find networks worth it. It was the best night of my life, and I will never forget the opportunity life has given to me.”
Well done, Lewis!