Cutting-edge training leads Bradford College to national recognition

Ruth Peterson | June 4, 2020

4 June 2020

Bradford College has received recognition in a major national award ceremony celebrating the best and most innovative practice among further education colleges.

NORDEC exterior indow

The college’s cutting-edge Northern Dental Education Centre (NORDEC) reached the national finals of the City and Guilds Award for College Engagement with Employers category in the Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards.

It recognises exemplary practice in the delivery of provision responsive to the needs of employers.

“We’re so proud of our staff”

Kelly McAllister, Head of Apprenticeships and Business Development at Bradford College, said: “We’re so proud of our students and staff and share our success with the employers who have supported us. Without them, we would not have been able to provide such high-quality education, training and apprenticeships and this achievement would never have been possible.”

Training at Precious Dental Care

Training in real-life conditions

NORDEC was opened in September 2017. A key driver for the project was getting more local people into employment, filling identified skills gaps within the dental sector.

Research had also highlighted a need to address dental hygiene and associated healthcare costs owing to deprivation and education factors in the population.

The centre includes a classroom set up as a dental surgery and the “phantom heads” theatre. The theatre includes realistic manikins that allow learners to practice in real-life conditions. The facility has a decontamination suite and space for lectures and workshops.

The ‘phantom heads’ theatre

Skills to provide Bradford with outstanding dental care

As well as delivering dental industry apprenticeships and qualifications, NORDEC engages with local dental practices, stakeholders and the local community. It has more than 50 partnerships with organisations including small – medium enterprises (SMEs) and local practices.

Currently, apprentices are on course to achieve an overall success rate of 90.6% (which is 22.6% above the national average) and a timely success rate of 83.6% (30.9% above the national average).

Asa Gordon, Assistant Principal for Further Education, said: “Our work with employers enables us to offer our students opportunities to train for rewarding careers and meet Bradford’s skills needs. The past few months have been an extraordinary time for us but we continue to support our students and employers to transform lives.”

Nicole: From apprentice to dental nurse

Precious Dental Care in Leeds is among healthcare employers who have successfully employed Bradford College apprentices studying with NORDEC.

Among them is Nicole Butler, who completed her level 3 dental nurse apprenticeship with Bradford College and progressed into full time employment with Precious as a dental nurse.

Nicole said: “I enjoyed attending college because of the change in environment and being able to utilise the new facilities in the NORDEC centre.”

Dental practice manager: “The support has been brilliant.”

Another stakeholder dental practice manager said: “NORDEC has provided us with three apprentices over the last few years.  They have serviced us extremely well and the support given to the apprentices has been brilliant. They have visited us regularly and supported the apprentices. We would not hesitate to take on another apprentice through NORDEC.”

Dawn Leak, Vice Principal at Bradford College, said: “I would like to thank the AoC for recognising the work experience and employment opportunities we provide for young people. This recognition reflects the talent and dedication of all our staff and students and I would like to congratulate them all for this achievement.”

More information about the awards is available on the AoC Beacon Awards website.

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