The college was announced as one of four finalists for the Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise at a glittering AoC ceremony this week.

The Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award, supported by The Careers and Enterprise Company, celebrates outstanding examples of careers education and guidance.

Sunderland College needed to demonstrate highly effective engagement with schools, employers and other agencies, to provide students with excellent impartial careers education, advice and guidance.

Vikkie Morton, Vice Principal for Student Services and Registry for Education Partnership North East, which includes Sunderland College, said:

“We have high expectations for all of our students and we motivate and inspire them through outstanding careers education to be the best they can be and to ensure they reach their full potential.

“I’m delighted that Sunderland College has reached the final stage of this year’s Careers Education and Guidance Beacon Award. We have been key in piloting the Gatsby Good Career Benchmarks, a framework of guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges, and are an advocate for embedding them across the North East region and nationally. We value the opportunity to transform the future of careers education and guidance and inspire innovative practice.”

Vikkie added:

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Beacon Award assessors to the college, in the near future, so that we can demonstrate our careers work in action.”

Last year, an impressive 94.7% of students from Sunderland College progressed to a positive destination such as employment or further study.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, said:

“I’m thrilled that Sunderland College has gained the recognition it deserves for the vital role our staff play in ensuring careers education is woven as the golden thread throughout the student journey.”

“Students are at the heart of everything we do and we pride ourselves in equipping them with the skills, knowledge and attributes that employers need, so they can progress to a successful and rewarding career.”

The AoC is the national voice for further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges in England. Now in its 25th year, the AoC Beacon Awards showcase best practice and innovation in colleges.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“These colleges have shown great innovation in highly effective engagement with schools, employers and other agencies, to provide learners with excellent impartial careers education, advice and guidance. Enabling learners to make informed choices about their progression to further study and training, including apprenticeships will have a lasting effect on the rest of their lives.”

Beacon Awards winners will be revealed at the Tes FE awards ceremony on 20th March 2020 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

For more information about Sunderland College, visit the next open event, ring 0191 511 6000 or go to 

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19