Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has been awarded STEM Assured® status by the New Engineering Foundation (NEF).

The standard recognises excellence in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths) provision within the Further Education sector, with a particular focus on industry relevance and embedding STEM skills across a range of learning areas. STEM Assured®is recognised by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES) and The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). The award reflects the Lancashire-based College’s determination to be at the forefront of STEM provision and meet the needs of local and national employers.

Dr Sarah Peers, NEF’s Director of Programmes, who led the validation process, said: “In addition to the admirable student-centred approach of the College, there is an emphasis on progression and pathways to STEM industries. Alongside effective links with employers there were many examples of good practice to ensure science and engineering courses related to industry and up-to-date practice. The Pre-Med programme, developed to support students considering careers and opportunities in the health and medical industries was highlighted and we urge the College to extend this model to other STEM areas”.

Joan Peagam, the College’s Divisional Manager for Science, Maths and Engineering, added: “We are delighted that our achievements so far are being recognised through this award and look forward to further developing excellence in our STEM provision.”

The Validation Panel, which included experts from FTSE 100 and leading high-technology companies, recommended that STEM Assured® should be the springboard to developing an explicit strategy for STEM across the College. In this way, the STEM Assured® process will lead to further improvements in a College already rated as Outstanding at its last OFSTED inspection.