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Grade A partnership delivers results

A partnership between Sunderland College and Sunderland City Council has enabled 800 council staff to gain nationally recognised qualifications in maths and English. An awards ceremony at the Council’s Leechmere Training Centre celebrated their success.

Sunderland College is helping the city raise its educational bar by delivering one of the UK’s biggest ‘Skills for Life’ programmes.

And more than 800 of Sunderland City Council’s Health, Housing and Adult Services staff have gained nationally recognised adult qualifications in maths and English as a result.

The council’s social care staff gathered at its Leechmere Training Centre on Wednesday, October 26 for an awards ceremony to mark their achievements and to collect their certificates.

The programme has been deemed a huge success, with the confidence of staff being boosted and attitudes to further training improved. Feedback from learners shows that they enjoyed the courses and were more willing to take on additional responsibility.

Peter Robertson, area leader for Basic Adult Education, said: “This is a very valuable initiative.

“All classes and workshops take place in works time – and support from the top at Sunderland City Council has been phenomenal.

“The event is actually a double celebration as the College has awarded Sunderland City Council our Large Business of the Year Award for its commitment to developing the skills of its workforce.

“We are looking forward to a long relationship with the council – and to helping Sunderland become one of the most qualified cities in the UK!”

Diane Elliot, 35, of Shiney Row, a residential officer in the short break service for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities, at Doric View, said: “I didn’t come out of school with great maths and English so I decided to give it a go.

“My daughter Leigh was doing her GCSEs at the time and I discovered the subjects were taught very differently from when I was at school – so the timing was spot on and I was able to help her out.

“I deal with money quite a lot at work – working out the costs of meals and provisions so the maths has been a real help.

“It really boosts your morale when you pass and being able to attend in work time is a bonus in itself.”

Heather Moore, of Fencehouses, also took and passed maths and English. The 53-year-old grandmother, who is also a residential officer, loved every minute of it.

“I think it is a really fantastic idea – it shows that just because you are getting older doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities to learn.

“I enjoyed going to college with all the different age groups and it was a real ego boost to pass. Spelling had always been a problem for me and it isn’t any more – I see this as being about my personal development, as well as allowing me to do parts of my job better I’ll also be able to help my grandchildren with their homework.”

Councillor Dave Allan, City Council Portfolio Holder for Health and Well Being, said: “The council places great emphasis on staff development and winning Sunderland College’s Large Business of the Year Award is fantastic recognition of this.

“What is even more pleasing is the way so many staff have really embraced the opportunity to gain extra qualifications.

“They deserve their recognition for the hard work they have put in.

“The council works in fantastic partnership with Sunderland College and long may it continue.”

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