Bernadette Edge, a teacher at Longley Park Sixth Form College in Sheffield, has been named as the Santander Employability Champion 2016 and was awarded £5,000 for the further development of their Career Ready programme.
The Santander Employability Champion Award celebrates the individuals who go above and beyond the requirements of their role as a Career Ready Coordinator and act as an ambassador for wider employer engagement.
Bernadette said: “Seeing students blossom before my very eyes is the most rewarding part of my role and makes all the hard work and long hours worth while. During my first meetings with them and their parents they are generally reserved, unsure and being with them on this journey and seeing them stand up and speak from the heart in front of a room full of business people is amazing. Only Career Ready can provide this opportunity for them – there is no other programme available to students where they can gain such a wealth of knowledge and experience.”
Bernadette was chosen from six regional winners from across the UK. The other regional winners are:
- Kate Forrest, West Derby School, North West
- Bill Watson, Northern Regional College, Northern Ireland
- Kristyna Macsween, Wester Hailes Education Centre, Scotland
- Laura Daniel, Cirencester College, Wales and the South West
- Helen Morgan, London Academy, London and the South East
Santander, who sponsored the Award, is one of the biggest supporters of the programme nationally and announced their continued support for Career Ready in March this year.
Stephen Cooke, Head of Tax at Santander, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with Career Ready which sees us supporting young people around the UK to reach their potential and gain vital employability skills. Out of all the applications we received, Bernadette stood out as a shining example of what can be achieved through the Career Ready model. Her dedication to improving the prospect of her students is second to none and she is truly deserving of this award.”
Longley Park Sixth Form College has been working with Career Ready for nearly 10 years to help prepare students to compete with the best in the country. Last year they came second in the Santander Centre of the Year Award.
Bernadette continued: “I’ve got lots of ideas to improve the programmes that we run, including launching a new IT theme. We plan to increase the use of in internal and external career days and will be asking speakers to put more emphasis on alternative routes to university. We’ve also trialled speed networking events and it was hugely successful so I intend to hold these on a more regular basis with various business people.”
Anne Spackman, Chief Executive of Career Ready, said: “It’s great to see an award which celebrates schools and colleges who are outstanding at employer engagement, now recognised as a major contributor to students’ future success in the workplace. Longley Park Sixth Form College has been a pioneer in this field. Its success is due in no small part to the magnificent leadership and energy provided by Bernadette Edge, who is a thoroughly deserving winner.”
All six regional winners were awarded £250 John Lewis vouchers and a trophy. Berndatte will also receive one-to-one mentoring from Santander for a year.