Former Bradford College student, Balbir Panesar has received yet another accolade - a Gold Award from the Association of Colleges (AoC). Balbir was nominated for the award by Bradford College for his achievements in the construction industry following his time in further education. The successful business owner will be presented with his award at a ceremony at the House of Commons in London on 4th June.
The AoC Charitable Trust presents the Gold Awards to just six recipients each year to recognise the vital role of further education in the careers of the winners, and their continuing achievements in their chosen careers. Balbir’s family came to Bradford from India in the 1960’s and he started training for a career in electrical installation at Bradford Technical College in September 1967. He attended the College full time for the first year of his study and part time for the next three years whilst completing an apprenticeship with John Peirson Ltd.
Balbir is now the Founder and Managing Director of PEC Building Services, a highly successful shop fitting and construction company with an impressive client list including Magnet, Homebase and Kwik-Fit. PEC now employs around 100 staff and has an annual turnover of £8 million a year.
Training at Bradford College gave Balbir the skills and confidence that he needed to start his own company. He recognises the important role that Bradford College played in his career success and supports the college at many events. He was recently a guest speaker at the official opening of the new Trinity Green Campus, a centre for training apprentices for the construction industry.
Commenting on the benefits of further education, Balbir said: “Having personally experienced the value of an apprenticeship, I do all I can to promote training. PEC has electricians, plumbers, joiners and decorators going through various stages of training and we take on apprenticeships every year. I am proud to have studied at Bradford College and believe that some of the experiences and self-confidence gained during my time there has helped over the years and led me to the position I am today. It is an honour to be a winner of this national Gold Award and it gives me great satisfaction to recognise that my career started with further education at Bradford College.”
To highlight the important role further education plays for students today, the AoC Charitable Trust is running a ‘mini me’ campaign. Current student, Imran Rashid (24) is completing an apprenticeship with Milner Build while studying for his Joinery NVQ at Bradford College. Imran has already made excellent progress towards becoming a professional joiner, achieving his CSCS Health and Safety Qualification and a qualification in Maintenance. Once qualified, Imran hopes to be able to set up his own business and employ apprenticeships from deprived areas. Imran will meet Balbir at the Gold Awards presentation ceremony in June, giving him the chance to quiz his peer on how he achieved success and the role that Bradford College played in his career.